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Knowledge management in monastic communities of the medieval Irish Celtic church

Knowledge management in monastic communities of the medieval Irish Celtic church Purpose – This paper aims to use the case of early medieval Irish monasticism to highlight the implicit a historicism of the knowledge management (KM) literature and to show how such a historical study can be used to increase the level of discourse and reflection within the contested and increasingly fragmented field of KM. Design/methodology/approach – The author uses secondary source analysis from a diversity of academic fields to examine the relatively sophisticated processes through which the monks gathered, codified, created, interpreted, disseminated and used religious and secular knowledge. The author then draws out a number of insights from this literature to aid current thinking on and debates within the field of KM. Findings – The paper presents a church metaphor of KM operating at two levels. Internally the metaphor highlights the deliberate but politically contentious nature of knowledge creation, a process of developing both explicit and tacit knowledge among the monks, revolving around ideologies and cults, and primarily concerned with the avoidance, constraining and settling of controversies and debates. Externally, the metaphor highlights the political use of and the mediation of access to knowledge for the purposes of social position and influence. Originality/value – This paper is original in providing a detailed consideration of KM activities within a specific early medieval historical context and in drawing from the study to contribute to current thinking within the field of KM. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Management History Emerald Publishing

Knowledge management in monastic communities of the medieval Irish Celtic church

Journal of Management History , Volume 13 (2): 13 – Apr 17, 2007

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1751-1348
DOI
10.1108/17511340710735591
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This paper aims to use the case of early medieval Irish monasticism to highlight the implicit a historicism of the knowledge management (KM) literature and to show how such a historical study can be used to increase the level of discourse and reflection within the contested and increasingly fragmented field of KM. Design/methodology/approach – The author uses secondary source analysis from a diversity of academic fields to examine the relatively sophisticated processes through which the monks gathered, codified, created, interpreted, disseminated and used religious and secular knowledge. The author then draws out a number of insights from this literature to aid current thinking on and debates within the field of KM. Findings – The paper presents a church metaphor of KM operating at two levels. Internally the metaphor highlights the deliberate but politically contentious nature of knowledge creation, a process of developing both explicit and tacit knowledge among the monks, revolving around ideologies and cults, and primarily concerned with the avoidance, constraining and settling of controversies and debates. Externally, the metaphor highlights the political use of and the mediation of access to knowledge for the purposes of social position and influence. Originality/value – This paper is original in providing a detailed consideration of KM activities within a specific early medieval historical context and in drawing from the study to contribute to current thinking within the field of KM.

Journal

Journal of Management HistoryEmerald Publishing

Published: Apr 17, 2007

Keywords: Knowledge management; History; Religion; Ireland

References