6.15 Demerest's KM Model

6.15 Demerest's KM Model

          Demerest’s knowledge management model emphasize on the construction of knowledge within an organization. This construction is not limited to scientific inputs but is seen as including the social construction of knowledge. The model assumes that constructed knowledge is then embodied within the organization, not just through explicit programs but through a process of social interchange (McAdam and McCreedy, 1999).

Figure 4 showed that there is a process of dissemination of the espoused knowledge throughout the organization and its surrounding. Ultimately the knowledge is seen as being of economic use in regard to organizational outputs. The solid arrows in figure 4 show the primary flow direction while the plain arrows show the more recursive flows. His model is attractive in that it does not assume any given definition of knowledge but rather invites a more holistic approach while, in reality, the flows of knowledge transfer may be extremely rapid and circulatory, as in the case for some forms of action learning.  

image available in printed version of the book

          Demerest’s model has been slightly modified of which seeks to address these limitations by explicitly showing the influence of both social and scientific paradigms of knowledge construction. The model also extends the “use” element to cover both business and employee benefits. If knowledge management is to have the support and commitment of all stakeholders in an organization then employee emancipation must be addressed along with the business benefits. These issues should not be seen as mutually exclusive but as complementary. Also more recursive arrows are added to figure 5 to show that knowledge management is not seen as simple sequential process. This picture is a useful means for structuring further research into field of knowledge management as it represents a balanced view.  It allows knowledge management to be associated with the emerging social paradigm while at the same time contributing to the current paradigm.

image available in printed version of the book

           The solid arrows represent primary flows of knowledge and the non-filled lines represent iterative flows. The primary flow of knowledge constructs, embodies, disseminates and uses knowledge specifically to the benefit of the organization or employee.

          Demarests’s model is usually described as a holistic model as it looks at the functional and social relationships and transfers between knowledge processes as opposed to Nonaka’s model which is termed as mechanistic in that it mainly addresses categorizing knowledge and the scientific facts of knowledge management.

           The most important aspect of Demarest’s model is that it believes that both scientific and social paradigms should be involved in the initial construction of knowledge. So organizations should ensure that when new piece of knowledge is created within the organization it can be via explicit means e.g. research, training or developing as well as indirect means such as socially in work related forums or away days.