Knowledge Management in the Brazilian Organisational Context: a shift towards the concept of "Ba"


  • Rivadávia C. Drummond de Alvarenga Neto


knowledge management, strategic information management, enabling context or "Ba", knowledge management conceptual umbrella metaphor, knowledge and information management


The paper investigates the theme known as "Knowledge Management" (KM) in three large Brazilian organisations trying to discuss its concepts, constituent elements, managerial approaches and tools, while aiming at leaving behind the purely terminological discussion, which is innocuous and naive. The basic presuppositions were two: (i) most of what is referred to or named KM is actually "Information Management" (IM) and IM is just one of the components of KM. KM is more than simply IM due to the fact that it includes and incorporates other concerns, such as the creation, use and sharing of information and knowledge in the organisational context; (ii) a conceptual model or map can be formulated based on three basic concepts: (a) a strategic concept of information and knowledge, (b) the introduction of such strategy in the tactical and operational levels through the several managerial approaches and information technology tools and (c) the creation of an organisational space for knowledge. The main objective is to investigate and analyse the concepts, motivations, practices and results of KM effectively implemented in three large Brazilian organisations. The qualitative research strategy used was the study of multiple cases with incorporated units of analysis and three criteria were observed for the judgment of the quality of the research project: validity of the construct, external validity and reliability. Multiple sources of evidence were used and data analysis consisted of three flows of activities: data reduction, data displays and conclusion drawingverification. The results confirmed the presuppositions and the fact that KM means a rethinking of management practices in the information era. Knowledge as such cannot be managed; it is just promoted or stimulated through the creation of a favourable organisational context, namely "Ba". It was also identified that the main challenges facing organisations committed to KM have its focus on change management, cultural and behavioural issues and the creation of an enabling context that favours the creation, use and sharing of information and knowledge.



1 May 2007