Do Knowledge Managers Belong Together?

The actKM discussion group occasionally ascends into agreeable festive banter, and our 2006 pre-Christmas season is no exception. Andrew Mitchell asked the other day on the actKM Forum what an appropriate collective noun might be for a gathering of knowledge managers. Some of his suggestions were tongue in cheek, but decidedly unflattering: “a wisdom of knowledge managers” was ok, but a “bumble” or an “extinction” of knowledge managers?? Dave Snowdenwas no more positive with a “babble” of knowledge managers as his suggestion, perhaps reflecting the discontinuity of KM discussions. Thoughtful as ever, Luke Naismith waded in with a series of options for each different species of KMers, reflecting again the great diversity of focus and practice in the field:

Technology focus – “a pod of knowledge managers” (citing Arthur Shelley’s Organizational Zoo)
Content focus – “a page of knowledge managers”
People and Social focus – “a collaboration of knowledge managers”
Philosophical focus – “a ponder of knowledge managers”
Narrative focus – “a crow of knowledge managers”

But when all types conjoin, Luke suggests, again, a fractious term: “a disconnect of knowledge managers”.

I think it’s true that we are a very diverse and often fractious profession, talking at cross purposes more of the time than we should. But we also try pretty hard to work together and understand and integrate our different perspectives. So I’m not so sure about that final collective noun: personally, I prefer “clutch” of knowledge managers, to express the wholeness we try to work towards, but also the effort involved in getting there. Thanks Andrew!

3 Comments so far

and who areyou to say that babble is negative?

Posted on December 11, 2006 at 04:58 AM | Comment permalink


I’d be happy to learn of a positive sense in this context - babble comes from the story of “Babel” which generally depicts lack of common language as destructive to coordinated effort and common ground.

Educate me smile

Posted on December 11, 2006 at 01:48 PM | Comment permalink

Well that is one reading - another is that it created a fascinating diversity of thinking
IBM named one of their better software packages after it
Its also a tale of humans cahllenging God and I like those!
Either way we can talk over dinner tonight in Hong Kong!

Posted on December 12, 2006 at 03:34 AM | Comment permalink

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