Advertisement

Virtue Ethics in Knowledge Management

  • Nina EvansEmail author
Living reference work entry

Abstract

Knowledge management can be used in an organization to achieve competitive advantage via knowledge creation, knowledge sharing, knowledge absorption, and higher quality information that enable rapid response to changes in the business environment. Knowledge management can also increase the intangible assets of an organization by capturing expert know-how and retention of vital corporate knowledge. Acquiring, refining, maintaining, and disseminating knowledge should be done through ethical conduct. The need to respect privacy and intellectual property of the individual should be balanced with the need to protect organizations against data theft and diminished competitive advantage due to knowledge loss. The conflict between the rights of the individual and that of the organization creates ethical dilemmas for executive managers, knowledge workers. Rule-based methods for decision-making in the face of these ethical dilemmas are insufficient to deal with the moral complexity of organizational life, because moral judgments are individual and personal. Virtue-based ethical theories place less emphasis on which rules people should follow and instead focus on helping people develop good character traits on which decisions are based. This chapter discusses virtue ethics in organizations and the role of trust, leadership, and wisdom in establishing organizations with virtuous knowledge management practices.

Keywords

Knowledge management Knowledge sharing Ethics Virtue ethics Business management Wisdom 

References

  1. Abolfazl ARK (1996) Intelligent software agents as tools for managing ethical issues in organisations caused by the introduction of new information technology. Managing Virtual Enterprises, VancouverGoogle Scholar
  2. Alter S (2006) Goals and tactics on the dark side of knowledge management. In: Proceedings of the 39th Hawaii international conference on systems sciences, HawaiiGoogle Scholar
  3. Azmi I (2010) Legal and ethical issues in knowledge management in Malaysia. Comput Law Secur Rep 26(1):61–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baskerville R, Dulipovici A (2006) The ethics of knowledge transfers and conversions: property or privacy rights? In: Proceedings of the 39th Hawaii international conference on system sciences, HawaiiGoogle Scholar
  5. Blackman D, Leake M (2000) Towards a universal world of computer ethics. In: AiCE2000 Conference on computer ethics, ANU, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  6. Choi SY, Kang YS, Lee H (2008) The effects of socio-technical enablers on knowledge sharing: an exploratory examination. J Inf Sci 34(5):742–754CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dalkir K (2013) Knowledge management in theory and practice. Routledge, DavenportGoogle Scholar
  8. Dickson MW, Smith DB, Grojean MW, Ehrhart M (2001) An organizational climate regarding ethics: the outcome of leader values and the practices that reflect them. Leadersh Q 12:197–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dobson J (2009) Alasdair Macintyre’s Aristotelian Business Ethics: A Critique. J Bus Ethics, 86(1):43–50Google Scholar
  10. Du Plessis M (2008) What bars organisations from managing knowledge successfully? Int J Inf Manag 28:285–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Evans N, McKinley M (2011) Ethical paradoxes in knowledge management. Vie Sci de l’Entrep 188:57–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Farhoomand A, Lovelock P (2001) Global e-commerce: text and cases. Prentice Hall, SingaporeGoogle Scholar
  13. Gayton CM (2008) Business ethics, restrictions on employment and knowledge management. VINE: J Inf Knowl Manag Syst 38(2):174–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gibbert M, Leibold M, Probst G (2002) Five styles of customer knowledge management, and how smart companies use them to create value. Eur Manag J 20(5):459–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Guadamillas-Gómez F, Donate-Manzanares MJ (2011) Ethics and corporate social responsibility integrated into knowledge management and innovation technology: a case study. J Manag Dev 30(6):569–581CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gupta B, Lakshmi SI, Aronson JE (2000) Knowledge management: practices and challenges. Ind Manag Data Syst 100(1):17–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Harris H, Wijesinghe G, McKenzie S (2013) The heart of the good institution: virtue ethics as a framework for responsible management. Springer, The NetherlandsCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Harshman CL, Harshman EF (2008) The gordian knot of ethics: understanding leadership effectiveness and ethical behavior. J Bus Ethics 78:175–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Heathfield SM (2013) Did you bring your ethics to work today? http://humanresources.about.com/od/businessethics/qt/workplace-ethics.htm
  20. Hursthouse R (1999) On virtue ethics. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  21. Jewels T, Evans N (2005) Ethical IT behaviour as a function of environment. Proceedings of the INSITE conference, FlagstaffGoogle Scholar
  22. Kraut R (2001) Aristotle’s ethics. Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy archive. Available online at http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2014/entries/aristotle-ethics/
  23. Land F, Nolas S-M, Amjad U (2004) Knowledge management: the darker side of knowledge management. In: ETHICOMP, Leicester, UKGoogle Scholar
  24. Land F, Amjad U, Nolas S-M (2007) The Ethics of knowledge management. Int J Knowl Manag 3(1):1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lang JC (2001) Managerial concerns in knowledge management. J Knowl Manag 5(1):43–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lin C-P (2007) To share or not to share: modeling tacit knowledge sharing, its mediators and antecedents. J Bus Ethics 70:411–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Martensson M (2000) A critical review of knowledge management as a management tool. J Knowl Manag 4(3):204–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McDermott R (1999) Why information technology inspired but cannot deliver knowledge management. Calif Manage Rev 42(4):103–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Moore B (1993) The Australian pocket Oxford dictionary, 3rd edn. Oxford University Press, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  30. Moore G (2002) On the implications of the practice-institution distinction: MacIntyre and the application of modern virtue ethics to business. B Ethics Q 12(1):19–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Payne D, Trumbach CC (2009) Data mining: proprietary rights, people and proposals. Bus Ethics: A Eur Rev 18(3):241–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Provis C (2010) Virtuous decision making for business ethics. J Bus Ethics 91(1):3–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rooney D, McKenna B (2007) Wisdom in organisations: whence and whither. Soc Epistomol 21(2):113–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rowley J (2006) Where is the wisdom that we have lost in knowledge? J Doc 62(2):251–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Schwartz DG (2006) Aristotelian view of knowledge management. Encyclopaedia of knowledge management. Idea Group Reference, HersheyCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Stearns M (1981) What are business ethics? Data Manag 19(5):26Google Scholar
  37. Styhre A (2002) The knowledge-intensive company and the economy of sharing: rethinking utility and knowledge management. Knowl Process Manag 9(4):228–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Teece DJ (2007) Capturing value from knowledge assets: the new economy, markets for know-how, and intangible assets. Calif Manage Rev 40:55–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Turban E, King D, Lee J, Liang TP, Turban DC (2010) Electronic commerce 2010: a managerial perspective. Pearson Education, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  40. Wilder C, Soat J (2001) The trust imperative. Inf week 34–42Google Scholar
  41. Wong KY (2005) Critical success factors for implementing knowledge management in small and medium enterprises. Ind Manag Data Syst 105(3):261–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Zack M (1999) Managing codified knowledge. Sloan Manage Rev 40(4):45–48Google Scholar
  43. Zalta EN (2013) The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. The Metaphysics Research Lab Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University, California, USAGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of IT and Mathematical ScienceUniversity of South Australia, Mawson Lakes CampusMawson LakesAustralia

Personalised recommendations