Personal Knowledge Management: Individual, Organizational and Social Perspectives

By McFarlane, Donovan A. | Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, April 2012 | Go to article overview

Personal Knowledge Management: Individual, Organizational and Social Perspectives


McFarlane, Donovan A., Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship


Personal Knowledge Management: Individual, Organizational and Social Perspectives David J. Pauleen and G.E. Gorman Gower Publishing Limited (201 1) 269 pages, Hardcover, $134.95

Pauleen and Gorman define Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) as "an evolving set of understandings, skills and abilities that allows an individual to survive and prosper in complex and changing organizational and social environments" (p. xvii). Personal Knowledge Management: Individual, Organizational and Social Perspectives is a twelve chapter academic, theoretical, and practical book written by highly qualified contributing authors. Chapter 1 examines "The Nature and Value of Personal Knowledge Management". In this chapter the authors clarify where PKM stands in relation to KM and explain how it differs significantly from KM and must therefore not be construed as an "offshoot of KM" (p. 1). This chapter discusses how individuals can remain competitive by applying five practical aspects of PKM strategy: management, lifelong learning, communication and interpersonal skills, use of technology, and forecasting and anticipating. They present PKM as a remedy to uncertainty and change that affect the competitiveness and value of individual as resource based on two factors: information overload and the changing nature of work. The authors also examine organizational knowledge management conceived through KM ideas and discuss PKM and the knowledge worker. Finally, this chapter discusses ways to capitalize on synergies by examining strategic interconnectedness in PKM with an understanding that "The world of knowledge work is intensifying" (p. 13).

Chapter 2 of Personal Knowledge Management is titled "Where is the Wisdom We Have Lost in Knowledge? A Stoical Perspective on Personal Knowledge Management" and is a philosophical approach taken by contributing authors Peter Case and Jonathan Gosling in examining the foundations of PKM. The authors try to contextualize the ideas of "knowledge" and "wisdom" with the philosophical idea of Stoicism emerging as a dominant theory which they regard as providing the most practical approach to PKM practice and strategy. They explore the role of personal knowledge in terms of what they call "person-in-role" (p. 25). The idea of "person-in-role" is contextualized in terms of a process that converts diverse inputs and outputs and affects how one manages oneself in the role of personal knowledge manager. The authors believe that "Phronesis" ("the ability to make judgments about 'what matters'" p. 32) is important to personal knowledge management (PKM).

Personal knowledge management (PKM) affects how we think, use knowledge, communicate and use creative imagination. In Chapter 3 of Personal Knowledge Management, contributing author Peter Murphy describes the development of PKM along a tangent where information, logic, and system creation are variables. Titled "From Information to Imagination: Multivalent Logic and System Creation in Personal Knowledge Management", this chapter investigates the relationship between information and imagination as the author explores how factors such as intuition, visualization, pattern recognition, and other processes shape the way in which we manage personal digital libraries. The author describes information management as "a form of architecture" (p. 45), as it involves and requires design and building structures.

If knowledge management is to be "personalized" then it is obvious that the individual is the center of its theorizing and strategy. Contributing author Mark Wolfe understands this idea and thus, Chapter 4 which he pens is titled, "Recovering the Individual as the Locus of Knowledge: Communication and Personal Knowledge Management". Recognizing that the individual is "the locus of knowledge" (p. 59), Wolfe raises an important issue which has for long troubled some educators and scholars, the role of technology and 'pragmatic action' as they could potentially pose as dampers to the development of PKM. …

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