Knowledge by narration : the role of storytelling in knowledge management

Mamabolo, Kgothatso Anna (2014-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Storytelling is gaining recognition as areas of inquiry in management and organisation theory, but it is difficult to ascertain to what extent it is useful for organisational knowledge management. The thesis argues that although the existing literature on organisational storytelling is focused on the knowledge sharing aspects of storytelling, it is also useful for knowledge capturing. Whilst most knowledge management systems focus on explicit knowledge, the capture of tacit knowledge, which is hard to identify and manage, is a major challenge. The thesis uses Becerra-Fernandez et al.'s knowledge management framework to establish the requirements for knowledge management, and specifically highlighting the important role of tacit knowledge in organisational knowledge processes. Thereafter the role of storytelling in organisations is described by way of a literature review that includes the work of Snowden, Denning, Boje and Czarniawska. The outcome of this review is to show that storytelling is an informal process in organisations and that attempts to formalise it are still in its infancy. The various insights about the role of stories in organisations are then mapped against the requirements for knowledge management. It is shown that the storytelling literature almost wholly concentrates on the area of knowledge sharing and less so in the areas of knowledge discovery, capture and application. Since knowledge capture involves the externalisation of tacit knowledge and because tacit knowledge is more easily expressed in narrative form, it is argued that storytelling can also contribute to knowledge management as a way to capture knowledge.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Stories en vertellings word toenemend erken as areas van ondersoek in bestuurs- en organisasieteorie, maar dit is moeilik om te bepaal tot watter mate dit bruikbaar is vir organisatoriese kennisbestuur. Die tesis argumenteer dat, hoewel die bestaande literatuur oor organisatoriese stories gefokus is op stories as die oordrag van kennis, dit ook bruikbaar mag wees vir kennis-formalisering. Terwyl die meeste kennisbestuursisteme op eksplisiete kennis gefokus is, is die formalisering van versweë kennis, wat moeilik is om te identifiseer en bestuur, 'n groot uitdaging. Die tesis steun op Becerra-Fernandez et al. se kennisbestuursraamwerk om so die vereistes vir kennisbestuur te bepaal en spesifiek die belangrike rol van versweë kennis in organisatoriese kennis prosesse uit te stippel. Daarna word die rol van stories in organisasies beskryf deur middel van 'n literatuur-oorsig wat die werk van Snowden, Denning, Boje en Czarniawska insluit. Die uitkoms van die oorsig is dat storie-vertelling in organisasies hoofsaaklik 'n informele proses is en dat pogings om dit te formaliseer nog in die beginfases is. Die verskeie insigte oor die rol van stories in organisasies word dan teen die agtergrond van die kennisbestuursvereistes geinterpreteer. Daar word getoon dat die storievertellingsliteratuur amper uitsluitlik konsentreer op die area van kennis-oordrag en minder so in die areas van kennis ontdekking, -formalisering en -toepassing. Omdat kennis formalisering met die eksternalisasie van versweë kennis gepaardgaan en omdat versweë kennis makliker in narratiewe vorm uitgedruk kan word, word daar geargumenteer dat storievertelling ook tot kennisbestuur kan bydrae lewer as 'n manier om kennis te formaliseer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86353
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