Advertisement

The Trouble with ‘Knowledge Transfer’: On Conduit Metaphors and Semantic Pathologies in Our Understanding of Didactic Practice

Conference paper

Abstract

It is a feature central to cooperative work that practitioners develop and maintain their collective competences and skills, and one will in many settings find elaborate didactic practices that reflect this state of affairs. The concept of ‘knowledge transfer’ that plays a key role in the knowledge management research area offers an obvious framework to the study of mutual learning. However, the notion of ‘knowledge transfer’ is a semantic pathology despite its widespread use in academia and everyday language, or more precisely, it is a conduit metaphor that mystify the very concept of didactic practice. The argument is that we need to abandon the conduit metaphor all together and present a viable alternative. In this paper we suggest that talking about ‘didactic practice’ is one such alternative and substantiate this assertion by presenting an ethnographic study of didactic practice in the building process.

Keywords

Knowledge Management Knowledge Transfer Sandwich Panel Cooperative Work Everyday Language 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

A warm thanks goes to the employees of PLH Arkitekter A/S as well as E. Pihl & Søn A/S for allowing me to take up so much of their time. In addition, the contributions of the anonymous reviewers are greatly appreciated.

References

  1. 1.
    Alavi, M., Leidner, D.: Knowledge management and knowledge management systems: conceptual foundations and research issues. MIS Q. 25(1), 107–136 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bansler, J., Havn, E.: Building community knowledge systems: an empirical study of IT-support for sharing best practices among managers. Knowl. Process. Manag. 10(3), 156–163 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fitzpatrick, G.: Emergent expertise sharing in a new community. In: Ackerman, M., Pipek, V., Wulf, V. (eds.) Sharing Expertise: Beyond Knowledge Management, pp. 77–106. The MIT Press, Cambridge (2003)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Huysman, M., de Wit, D: A critical evaluation of knowledge management practices. In: Ackerman, M., Pipek, V., Wulf, V. (eds.) Sharing Expertise, pp. 27–57. The MIT Press, Cambridge (2003)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Huysman, M., Wulf, V.: IT to support knowledge sharing in communities: towards a social capital analysis. J. Inform. Technol. 21, 40–51 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    McDermott, R.: Why information technology inspired but cannot deliver knowledge management. Calif. Manag. Rev. 41, 103–117 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Newell, S., Scarbrough, H., Swan, J.: From global knowledge management to internal electronic fences: contradictory outcomes of intranet development. Br. J. Manag. Learn. 12, 91–111 (2001)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Orlikowski, W.J.: Learning from NOTES: organizational issues in groupware implementation. In: Mantei, M.M., Baecker, R.M., Krau, R.E. (eds.) Proceedings of the Conference on Computer-supported Cooperative Work, 31 October–4 November 1992, Toronto, Canada, pp. 362–369. ACM Press, New York (1992)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Reddy, M.J.: The conduit metaphor: a case of frame conflict in our language about language. In: Ortony, A. (ed.) Metaphor and Thought. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1979)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Szulanski, G.: The process of knowledge transfer: a diachronic analysis of stickiness. Organ. Behav. Hum. Decis. Process. 82(1), 9–27 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Williams, M.: Wittgenstein, Mind and Meaning: Towards a Social Conception of Mind. Routledge, London (1999)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Wittgenstein, L.: Philosophical Investigations. Blackwell, Oxford (2001)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IT-University of CopenhagenCopenhagen SDenmark

Personalised recommendations