Theory building in knowledge management in search of paradigms

Shirley Ann Hazlett, Rodney Mcadam, Séamus Gallagher

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    99 Citations (Scopus)


    The development of knowledge management (KM) in theory and praxis continues to involve a wide range of disciplines and contributors, each bringing their respective experiences, beliefs, and practices. Two of the main disciplines that contribute to the KM discourse are information systems and management. However, this study of KM has revealed an apparent dichotomy between those researchers from an information systems background and those from a management background. Approaches and models based on each perspective have emerged, but there is little evidence of synergy and convergence. This article shows that attempts to develop an optimal KM methodology are misplaced unless the underlying assumptions and paradigms are identified and understood. Furthermore, it is proposed that KM is currently in a state of "pre-science," wherein proponents of different paradigms have their own beliefs and values and often disagree with others about fundamentals within the field.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)31-42
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Management Inquiry
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Mar 2005

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


    • Knowledge management
    • Kuhn
    • Paradigms
    • Pre-science


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