Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 31793
Paradigm and Paradox: Knowledge Management and Business Ethics

Authors: A. Evans, M. McKinley


Knowledge management (KM) is generally considered to be a positive process in an organisation, facilitating opportunities to achieve competitive advantage via better quality information handling, compilation of expert know-how and rapid response to fluctuations in the business environment. The KM paradigm as portrayed in the literature informs the processes that can increase intangible assets so that corporate knowledge is preserved. However, in some instances, knowledge management exists in a universe of dynamic tension among the conflicting needs to respect privacy and intellectual property (IP), to guard against data theft, to protect national security and to stay within the laws. While the Knowledge Management literature focuses on the bright side of the paradigm, there is also a different side in which knowledge is distorted, suppressed or misappropriated due to personal or organisational motives (the paradox). This paper describes the ethical paradoxes that occur within the taxonomy and deontology of knowledge management and suggests that recognising both the promises and pitfalls of KM requires wisdom.

Keywords: business ethics, data, knowledge, knowledgemanagement, privacy, protection.

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