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Knowledge Metaphors can mislead us

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 21 September 2007



Knowledge Metaphors can mislead us
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 87
Posted DateFriday 21 September 2007 10:41 GDT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen

At the 8th European Conference on Knowledge Management in Barcelona, Spain on 6-7 September 2007, Daan Andriessen gave a keynote talk entitled Knowledge As Love; How Metaphors Direct Our Efforts to Manage Knowledge in organizations.

In this talk, he made the point that we use metaphors to make sense of the world and the terms "knowledge management" and "intellectual capital" were such metaphors. When we speak of "knowledge management" we use a "resource" metaphor to help describe knowledge and when we use the term "intellectual "capital" we use a "capital" metaphor.

Daan explained that metaphors are indispensable for conceptualization and understanding. However, we need to be aware that metaphors highlight certain things and conceal others. For example, the "knowledge as a resource" metaphor ignores the fact that knowledge is subjective and difficult to elicit.

I found this concept fascinating and decided to conduct a few of my video mini-interviews with some of the conference participants including Daan and asked them "What is your favorite knowledge metaphor". I also ran a Knowledge Cafe on the theme. I think you might will the material including photos and videos that you will find on my website.

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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