In Reply to Patrick Lambe
It seems I caused a stir with my comments on knowledge management a few days ago. Patrick Lambe, who featured on the second YouTube video in my post, took exception to my position in general and use of ‘snake-oil’ to describe his field in particular. Patrick’s response is over at Green Chameleon, and raises a number of issues beyond the scope of my initial concern, but equally valid.
I’m republishing my counter-comments here largely verbatim, with a few links added, so the debate can be taken to as wide an audience as possible.
Still questions to answer
Patrick, let me begin by saying that I very much appreciate you taking the time to respond in detail to my post on your own blog. But before I reply in kind I just want to clarify one small matter – there was no ire to be raised in my post. Not everyone needs an agenda to be critical.
In framing my initial comments on knowledge management under the snake-oil rubric I merely meant to challenge what I see as a poorly defined field, to highlight one important challenge to it, and to say something about photocopier salesmen posing as anything but just that. I notice that you barely touch upon this final point, although I am glad to see that you acknowledge the charlatans on the edges of your field. Given my comments to come, you’ll have to forgive me for continuing to think that they are in the public eye far more than you might imagine.
In any case, therein lies the reasoning that you failed to detect in my post: knowledge management is not a field that shouldn’t have questions asked of it by outsiders.
Interestingly enough, your response passes over the variety of knowledge management definitions Ray Sims mentioned without giving any proof that they are “not as varied as the sheer number” suggests. Why not? How many definitions would you support?
I acknowledge that your field could well be grappling with problems of classification – many are – but failing to recognise a lack of clarity as a significant problem seems to me short sighted.