[Asis-l] Fwd.: KM4Dev Journal CfP Collaborative learning: the role of organisational knowledge management strategies

M.J. Menou michel.menou at orange.fr
Sat Aug 16 10:04:55 EDT 2008

> Knowledge Management for Development Journal
> Call for Papers
> Volume 4, Issue No. 2, December 2008
> Collaborative learning: the role of organisational knowledge 
> management strategies
> The Knowledge Management for Development Journal (KM4D Journal) is an 
> open access,
> peer-reviewed community based journal on knowledge management for 
> development2 – for
> and by development practitioners, researchers and policymakers. The 
> journal is closely related
> to the KM4Dev community of practice [www.km4dev.org], and is openly 
> available at
> www.km4dev.org/journal.
> Volume 4, Issue 2, to be published in December 2008, will focus on 
> organisational knowledge
> management strategies and their role in facilitating learning among 
> and between Northern and
> Southern partners. Many development organisations have knowledge 
> management and/or
> learning strategies but these are often not known outside the 
> organisation itself. Where these
> strategies have been shared outside the organisation, they have been 
> publicised informally and
> not widely distributed to a broader public. Learning about how other 
> organisations are
> undertaking knowledge management is a way to hold up a mirror to our 
> own practice and
> experience.
> Guest Editors comprise: Ewen Le Borgne, Catherine 
> Vaillancourt-Laflamme and Ivan Kulis,
> working with Chief Editor, Sarah Cummings. This issue will be produced 
> in the context of the
> IKM Emergent Research Programme [www.ikmemergent.net].
> Rationale
> Knowledge and learning strategies in development organizations need to 
> be clearly
> and realistically positioned within the broader dynamics of 
> organizational life, as well
> as in the context of international development efforts as a whole. 
> Perhaps most
> challenging, but equally unavoidable, is the need to locate efforts in 
> relation to the
> specific knowledge and learning needs of organizations and 
> beneficiaries in the South,
> such that the idea of knowledge transfer to the South is increasingly 
> replaced by
> learning with and from the South (Ramalingam 2005: 38).
> A key assumption underlying this issue’s rationale is that mutual 
> learning between Northern
> and Southern stakeholders is an important success factor, not only for 
> knowledge strategies,
> but also for development processes overall. Therefore strategies aimed 
> at facilitating mutual
> learning need to be woven into the very fabric of the development 
> organization. However, it is
> not clear how knowledge strategies have so far contributed to mutual 
> learning and, if they
> have, what indicators they have used to account for this.
> Indeed, organizations appear to place a greater emphasis on the 
> potential of knowledge
> management rather than on the tangible benefits it has already 
> achieved. This may be
> driven by necessity – a result of the specific stage of the knowledge 
> programmes in
> question, or it may be due to a lack of (monitoring and evaluation) 
> (Ramalingam
> 2005: 25).
> One of the reasons for the focus on the potential of knowledge 
> strategies is probably that they
> are relatively new and the frameworks and mechanisms needed to develop 
> an evidence-base
> have not yet been fully developed, tested or publicised. There is, 
> therefore, a need for
> evidence-based answers to the question of what knowledge and learning 
> strategies are
> achieving in terms of organizational and development impact. In order 
> to do this, impact
> studies need to move away from exogenous indicators focused on 
> accountability and rather
> explore such issues as inclusiveness, responsiveness, mutual learning 
> and epistemic diversity.
> To do this, new frameworks and mechanisms are needed.
> This issue
> Many development organisations have elaborated knowledge management 
> and learning
> strategies that are – implicitly or explicitly – designed to 
> strengthen Southern counterparts’
> abilities to respond more effectively to their daily contingencies, 
> and participate more equally
> in decision-making processes. In reality however this is rarely 
> realized, and knowledge
> strategies contribute primarily to the organization’s internal 
> knowledge capacities rather than
> to those of their counterparts or to the capacity of handling 
> knowledge together. Where a
> Southern component is explicitly included, this still more often 
> provides knowledge benefits
> to donors or development organizations than to the Southern 
> development partners
> themselves. Indeed, their participation often proves instrumental 
> rather than being driven by
> effective participation of all stakeholders in the development process.
> This issue of the journal aims to explore how knowledge strategies 
> within development
> organisations are designed. It will particularly focus on whether and 
> how the Southern
> component is included in KM strategies, and what knowledge benefits 
> these strategies
> comprise for different development stakeholders (donors, development 
> organizations,
> Southern development partners, etc.). Moreover, the issue aims to 
> provide insight into how
> KM strategies (intend to) contribute to development goals.
> This issue of the journal aims to showcase studies of knowledge 
> management for strategies,
> and how these facilitate and catalyse reciprocal learning among 
> different types of
> development organisations – NGOs, bilateral and multilateral 
> organisations, communitybased
> organisations, etc. – in different locations, both North and South.
> We invite studies of individual organisations but also particularly 
> welcome research that
> compares the knowledge management strategies of a variety of different 
> organisations.
> Papers in this issue should address one or more of the following issues:
> • What are the main objectives of explicit knowledge management 
> activities in multilateral,
> bilateral and non-government development organizations? How are these 
> motivated, and
> are they achieved?
> • What differences and trends can be identified in terms of the phases 
> and generations of
> knowledge management approaches and implementations, between different 
> types of
> organizations, and how might these be explained? [For a more detailed 
> discussion of this,
> please consult Ferguson et al. 2008]
> • Are there any differences between KM interventions in Northern and 
> Southern-based
> development organisations? If so, which ones, and why?
> • How is KM strategy instrumental in facilitating learning, both from 
> and with partners?
> • To what extent are knowledge management for development strategies 
> aligned to and
> supportive of other organizational processes and how can this be 
> improved?
> • How do different types of development organizations (formal 
> institutions, communitybased
> organisations, networks and communities, etc.) cultivate knowledge 
> creation,
> knowledge sharing and knowledge leveraging?
> Authors are encouraged to structure their papers according to a loose 
> template, in order to
> allow for cross-organisational comparison. The proposed structure 
> below should further
> provide a consistent analysis framework that allows comparing the 
> various studies while
> leaving room to highlight each organisation’s specific approach. 
> However, we do not aim to
> be prescriptive and papers with differing structures can also be 
> accepted for the journal.
> Proposed structure for description of individual development 
> organisations’ knowledge
> and learning strategies
> 1. Theory and/or perspective
> What are the theoretical premises from which the approach is derived? 
> In the case where the
> approach is not based on a specific theory, what perspective or 
> philosophy drives the
> approach (e.g. a business-driven approach to maximise competitive 
> edge, an ICT-driven
> approach aimed knowledge transfer, the conception of an organisation 
> as a ‘learning
> organisation’, etc.)? How might the theories or perspectives be improved?
> 2. Objective
> What are the main objectives – stated and implicit – of the knowledge 
> management / learning
> approach? Are these internally or externally focused? (How) do they 
> align with the core
> organizational development goals? How are the knowledge needs of 
> Southern parties
> (partners, beneficiaries, field offices) taken into account?
> 3. Form or structure of the approach
> What methodology has been used to develop the knowledge strategy? What 
> structure does the
> strategy follow? What tools and approaches are being employed to 
> implement it and how
> were they selected? How effective are these, and how is this tested?
> 4. Reciprocal learning and integration of multiple perspectives (see 
> below)
> To what extent does the knowledge or learning strategy pay attention 
> (both in the strategy
> document and in practice) to various ‘knowledges’ that may affect the 
> organisation? (How) is
> reciprocal learning achieved?
> 5. Organizational and development impact of multiple perspectives and 
> cross-partner
> learning
> How have multiple knowledges impacted the organisation and its 
> partner(s)? Have these
> allowed for more innovation (for example, in terms of launching new 
> initiatives, or in
> building additional organizational capabilities)? Or do epistemic and 
> cognitive differences
> entail negative consequences on the organisation, leading to 
> suspension of reciprocal
> learning? What other obstacles have been encountered in terms of 
> promoting learning with
> partners?
> 6. Advantages and drawbacks
> Judging from experience with implementing the strategy, what are the 
> theoretical and
> practical advantages and drawbacks of the approach (and to a lesser 
> extent what opportunities
> or issues has it brought forward)?
> 7. Sources used
> What sources of inspiration (theories, strategies, frameworks, 
> exercises, books/articles) have
> helped develop the knowledge management or learning approach studied?
> In particular, we would like to invite potential authors to consider 
> the organisation that they
> are studying in the light of what we consider to be ‘multiple 
> knowledge variables’. These
> knowledge variables may have an impact on the way knowledge processes 
> (from creation
> through sharing to application) are experienced and have the potential 
> to lead to a greater
> empowerment of development actors.
> Among these knowledge variables are: gender; generation and/or 
> seniority in the organisation;
> worldview based on a specific belief system (referred to in IKM 
> Emergent as cosmovision,
> such as a religion or a particular ideology); social class; proximity 
> to the field or headquarters;
> working function; educational background; language; specific 
> organisational culture, systemic
> knowledge. Any other variable felt as relevant can be included in the 
> studies.
> About the Guest Editors
> Ewen Le Borgne is a project officer at IRC International Water and 
> Sanitation Centre, where
> he works on a number of projects in West Africa and Ethiopia, 
> specifically on
> communication, learning and knowledge management, monitoring and 
> evaluation activities.
> Catherine Vaillancourt-Laflamme is Youth Employment Knowledge Sharing 
> Technical
> Officer at the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva.
> Ivan Kulis is Programme Officer, KM4Dev at European Centre for 
> Development Policy
> Management (ECDPM); Researcher, United Nations University-MERIT 
> (UNU-MERIT). His
> interests include organizational learning, social media technologies 
> and alliance capabilities in
> development cooperation. He can be reached at ik at ecdpm.org.
> Submissions deadlines
> Submission deadline for the title and abstract 15 September 2008
> Acceptance of paper proposal 30 September 2008
> Submission of paper 31 October 2008
> Peer-review completed 15 November 2008
> Final version of paper submitted 10 December 2008
> (e)-publication date 31 December 2008
> If you would like to submit a paper, or be actively involved in this 
> initiative in any other way,
> please send your abstract (minimum one paragraph – maximum one page) 
> or your message by
> email to km4dj-editors at dgroups.org
> Guidelines for authors are available on the journal website:
> http://www.km4dev.org/journal/index.php/km4dj/about
> References
> Julie E. Ferguson, Kingo Mchombu and Sarah Cummings (2008) Management 
> of knowledge
> for development: meta-review and scoping study. IKM Working Paper No. 
> 1, April 2008,
> 45pp. 
> http://ikmemergent.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/080421-ikm-working-paper-no1- 
> meta-review-and-scoping-study-final.pdf
> Ramalingam, Ben (2005) Implementing knowledge strategies: lessons from 
> international
> development agencies. Working Paper 244, ODI: London
> http://www.odi.org.uk/rapid/publications/Documents/WP244.pdf
> ........................................ ..................
> 1 Much of the text of this ‘Call for Papers’ is derived from Ferguson, 
> Mchombu and Cummings 2008
> 2 All articles published in the journal must have a knowledge 
> management component and relate to international
> development. Development in this specific context relates to such 
> topics as aid/assistance to developing
> countries, international cooperation and poverty alleviation (full 
> definition below). Examples of sub-sectors are
> health, agriculture, education, gender empowerment, policy issues, and 
> so forth.
> Development is understood to be a process involving a broad palette of 
> human factors, concerned with individual
> people living in very different conditions across the world. As such, 
> development efforts are aimed at
> strengthening people's abilities to respond to the challenges they 
> encounter in their environment at individual,
> family, community and wider societal levels. It is a process of 
> empowerment of marginalized people, which
> involves the transfer, development and leveraging of knowledge in such 
> a way that they are better informed of
> their personal development possibilities and livelihood opportunities, 
> and better equipped to capitalize on these.
> From this perspective, development initiatives can succeed only if 
> there is a thorough understanding of the
> cultural and socio-economic environment of the intended beneficiaries: 
> development depends to a large extent
> on how well knowledge of these factors is applied.

Dr. Michel J. Menou
Visiting Professor, SLAIS, University College London, U.K.
Consultant in ICT policies and Knowledge & Information Management
Adviser of Somos at Telecentros board http://www.tele-centros.org
Member of the founding steering committee of 
Telecenters of the Americas Partnership http://www.tele-centers.net/
B.P. 15
F-49350 Les Rosiers sur Loire, France
Email: micheljmenou[at]gmail[dot]com
Phone: +33 (0)2 41511043

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