The evolution to take place over the last twenty years has been highly noteworthy in regards to how technology has changed the ways in which knowledge management is interfaced with consumers everyday. While published literature still has grounds for maintaining a level of significant influence, new forms of online information sharing have begun to emerge more prominently during the last decade of the Internet and information sharing age.
For this blog, I’ve again decided to connect some research I have previously conducted for other courses in an attempt to bring together several notions which all relate to KM. Technology has progressively become more entwined with our daily existence and overall way of life with each successive generation. User centered technologies have become increasingly accessible replacing “static internet resources” with tweeting, blogging, and numerous other forms of online socializing in a highly active and networked environment. As stated by Susannah Fox from Huber and Gillaspy (2011),
“The Internet now is not just information. There is a social life of information online. And people are using all these tools to connect with friends and family, to connect with (health) professionals. And people are accessing a much deeper level of information now than they were five years ago.” (p. 423)
Virtual communities focusing on health related topics and many other social issues are becoming more and more prevalent. Just as I was more comfortable talking with my mom about our asthma conditions, rather than my friends who I felt wouldn’t understand, online communities bring people together and create a comfortable and safe communicative environment. In many ways both online and traditional communities function in “virtually” the same way. At their center they combine content and communication to bring people together, facilitate the exchange of information and the creation of knowledge. These user centered virtual outlets have revolutuonized the ways in which society searches for and shares knowledge, but with all new andvances in technology, individuals must be weary of the adverse effects.
Although much of this research primarily focuses on health information, it exemplifies another instance of Nonakas theory of organizational knowledge creation principles in action. In this particular instance however, the oragnization is within the realm of health care and consumer health which is a highly sigficant field to analyze knowledge management tendancies. Virtual communities have given consumers more autonmony than ever before. Nonaka (1994) explains the importance of autonomy as a principle of his theory by
“Individual autonomy widens the possibility that individuals will motivate themselves to form new knowledge… A sense of purpose and autonomy becomes important as an organizational context. Purpose serves as the basis of conceptualization. Autonomy gives individuals freedom to absorb knowledge.” (p.18)
Applying this idea of autonomy and its positive correlation with knowledge absorption is an interesting connection to make. It would seem as though Nonaka’s conceptualization incorporates a highly networked array of applications. This is all the better for students wanting a deeper understanding of knowledge management and the various branches and additional limbs of research.
Huber, J. T. and Gillaspy, M. L. (2011). Knowledge/Power transforming the social landscape: The case of the consumer health information movement. The Library Quarterly, 81(4):405-430.
Nonaka, I. (1994). A dynamic theory of organizational knowledge creation. Organization Science, 5(1):14-37.