Presentation Details

The Fourth International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organisations

Knowledge Management and Capitalism - A Conundrum

Dr. Charlene A. Dykman, Dr Charles Davis.

Much has been written about the need to move from a knowledge-hoarding to a knowledge-sharing culture within organizations in order to assure success. Many firms are working diligently to identify knowledge experts, to extract their knowledge, and to develop mechanisms for codifying knowledge for the benefit of the firm. Inherent in this effort is the objective to disseminate knowledge to those who will be able to use and apply it in the course of their work. The goal, of course, is that workers will be able to perform at a higher level of competency and with greater speed than if they had to engage in the "learning curves" themselves.

This paper explores the difficulties of creating a knowledge-sharing culture in a world where "individualism" and "competitive advantage" saturate the lexicon. Capitalist societies are based on a foundation in which the market decides the success or failure of competing institutions and individuals. If knowledge possessed leads to a clear advantage in the marketplace, where is the incentive to share such knowledge? This paper will focus, in depth, on the inherent dialectic and fundamental conflicts between knowledge management as a practical business approach and capitalism as an economic framework. Suggestions will be included for managing reward systems within organizations as a systematic way to encourage knowledge-sharing.


Dr. Charlene A. Dykman  (United States)
Professor of Management Information Systems
Cameron School of Business
University of St. Thomas

Professor of MIS, with extensive research record focusing on the interface between Information Systems, organizations, and cultures. Member of a group studying Knowledge Management in the business of Aerospace. Scholarly focus on distance education paradigms and dissemination of knowledge via innovative means. Extensive work as a business analyst and senior information systems executive with worldwide systems implementation experience.

Dr Charles Davis  (United States)

University of St. Thomas

  • Knowledge Management
  • Knowledge Sharing
  • Capitalism
  • Reward Structures
  • Competitive Advantage
  • Knowledge Hoarding

(Virtual Presentation, English)