The Adaptive Approach

Ching Fang Lee, Shih Chien University, Stephen Dun-Hou Tsai, and Mansour Amjadi, both from National Sun Yat-Sen University, published “The Adaptive Approach: Reflections on Knowledge Management Models,” in OnlineFirst in Journal of Management Inquiry. Professor Amjadi shared some background information about the article.


Who is the target audience for this article?

Scholars and practitioners interested in Knowledge Management (KM) approaches in high-tech companies, for example, the semiconductor and biotechnology industries.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

We have been doing research on Knowledge Management (KM) and believe knowledge management systems have become an important means of organizational development and survival. The question we asked was: why the more knowledge is managed by practitioners, the more they lost? This intriguing question inspired us to pursue this research. We noticed two totally different (KM) approaches in the semiconductor industry in Taiwan: the Object-Based KM (OBKM) and Community-Based KM (CBKM) models. Therefore, we became interested in learning more by analyzing these two approaches.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

As we reviewed our collected data, we noticed that organizational knowledge is not only distributed differently in different workplaces, but also embedded in the specific context of interactions. One important finding was that the two models (OBKM & CBKM) had different pre-understanding about knowledge based on Resource Based View (RBV) and Complex Adaptive System (CAS). Therefore, we proposed the adaptive approach to bridge the two different KM models.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

Further inquiries can possibly concentrate on different aspects of object-based and community-based models of KM at both individual and organizational levels. In addition, future research can focus on different patterns of adaptive approach and how to adapt between the two models of OBKM and CBKM.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

In the past, the research stream in knowledge management was mainly focused on knowledge-as-object. In recent year, however, knowledge-as-cognition or knowledge-as-practice has become the main research concentration. We believe, in the future, knowledge-as-performative will be the area which will get most of the attention. The adaptive approach facilitates research on knowledge-as-performative with different pre-understanding about knowledge in organizations.

How did your paper change during the review process?

The editor, Marvin Washington, and the two reviewers provided very helpful suggestions for strengthening the manuscript overall. We think they made constructive comments which improved the paper significantly. Initially, we compared the two different KM models. Then, Dr. Washington and the reviewers helped us to go deeper and beyond the data presented. As a result, we reframed the paper and proposed the adaptive approach.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

We start with the adaptive approach which was proposed in this paper. We think the adaptive approach offers intriguing research questions. There are different adaptive patterns in different industries. We need to look at the different process in the industries.

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