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Knowledge management: the fad that forgot technology

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It has been argued that knowledge management's pre-occupation with technology had led the field to forget people and the inherently social nature of all knowledge practices. This paper argues however that such social activity is, in many contexts, necessarily mediated through technology and that technology is a powerful and available instrument to enrol in knowledge management initiatives. For this reason a richer view of the role of technology in knowledge management is needed. The paper describes an action research study of the British Council’s development, introduction and use of an Intranet based Knowledge Management Technology (KMT). Through this study the paper explores the social construction of KMT, in an attempt to open the black box on its construction and use, and to discuss the decisions which shaped its design. The paper concludes by arguing that a view is needed whereby technology is taken seriously and put back into Knowledge Management; not as a set of tools, but as real and significant actor in the context, and one which plays an exciting, difficult and dangerous role.

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