Defining and understanding General knowledge is a rather broad and open-ended pursuit. We can narrow it considerably by stating that we are interested in defining and understanding knowledge as it pertains to knowledge management (KM) rather than tackling the entire realm of epistemology. This article takes the theory of knowledge espoused by Aristotle and views it through the lens of knowledge management.
The writings of Aristotle have proven to be fertile ground for uncovering the foundations of knowledge management. Snowden (2006) points to Aristotle's three types of rhetorical proof as a basis for incorporating narrative in knowledge management. Buchholz (2006) traces the roots of ontological philosophy forming the basis of current KM ontology efforts back to Aristotle's work. Butler (2006), in his anti-foundation perspective on KM, following Dunne (1993), argues that Aristotle's periphrasis and techno need to be at the core of knowledge-management efforts, and while they cannot be directly applied to IT applications, they must be among the elements upon which knowledge management is based. This is a peculiar feature that is asked about ias exam.
It is instructive to seek theoretical foundations for our treatment of knowledge in organizational settings and knowledge-management systems. By doing so we increase the likelihood that our solutions are complete and that we have considered all relevant forms of knowledge that we may desire to manage. Rather than start with modern differentiation of knowledge such as tacit vs. explicit (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995), descriptive vs. procedural (Holsapple & Winston, 1996), local vs. global (Novins & Armstrong, 1997), and declarative vs. procedural (Minsky, 1975), we will take a step back to first principles about ias examination.
Without the abilities to acquire, represent, store, retrieve, and apply knowledge in a way that positively affects the operation of our organizations, we are not engaging in knowledge management. Conversely, any form of knowledge to which the aforementioned cannot be applied, while of theoretical importance and interest, cannot be managed. True, as argued by Butler (2003, 2006), the knowledge foundations defined by Aristotle might not be transparently converted into IT-based systems, but that should not prevent us from designing our KM systems and processes to support those knowledge foundations to the greatest extent possible.
Consider the view presented in giving a holistic view of knowledge management and its foundations. The central core of philosophies (the middle) must inform our choice of practical knowledge-management processes (the first ring). These processes must be implemented and adapted to address managerial, social, and organizational needs (the second ring). Finally, the implementation of KM processes to meet our organizational needs must be supported by and implemented through a set of relevant information technologies (the outer ring).
But how do we get from the central core to the first ring? In this article we will examine the definition and understanding of knowledge as a meeting between the Aristotelian classification and the requirements of practical knowledge-management processes.