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Record European perspective of HRD

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Subject Knowledge management and learning in Europe
Context Analysis of the European agenda of HRD, based on the evaluation of papers presented at the conference on HRD research and practice across Europe, Kingston Business School, London, 15 January 2000
Summary There is a remarkable similarity in the points made in a group of papers dealing with the fields of knowledge management and of organisational and individual learning. These points include the following:
  • "questioning whether organisations can really 'manage' knowledge, unless they accept the different learning strategies of individual employees, and accept the socially constructed nature of the learning process;
  • following from this, the importance of recognising and including all the different stakeholders in the learning process;
  • the importance of proactive facilitation that recognises both the dynamic nature of organisational learning, and power relations;
  • and the essential importance of equal attention to 'people processes' (especially culture change, training, education and facilitation) as well as technology for successful knowledge management."
At methodological level, the papers share the following features:
  • challenging the epistemological basis of theories of knowledge management (including the empiricist, rationalist and situated cognition theories of knowledge) and the relative implications of these for the role of HRD in promoting and maintaining knowledge management in organisations;
  • criticising Nonaka's and Takeuchi's (1995) model for the creation and dissemination of both explicit and tacit knowledge, as both a simplistic and inaccurate representation of what happens;
  • arguing in favour of adopting a model that recognises the socially constructed nature of knowledge and learning, and hence arguing for the role of HRD in reinforcing existing learning cultures and processes.
Key terms Knowledge management; organisational and individual learning
Source Analysis: Woodall et al. 2001a, pp. 346f.; reference to Bonet 2000, Cappetta 2000, Gourlay 2000, MacNeil 2000, Poell 2000a, Shelton 2000, Tomassini 2000
Descriptors D-HRD EP10          R17
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Editor: Sabine Manning  © WIFO