The Inquiring Organization: How Organizations Acquire Knowledge and Seek Information

tags: knowledge-management

This was a tough book. It’s short (about 200 pages), but it’s dense – both physically and intellectually. The type is small, and the prose is scientific.

The book is not a mainstream paperback. I half-suspect it wasn’t written as a book, but rather as a peer-reviewed scientific paper. It’s largely an analysis/review of all the scientific data on epistemology – how we know what we know. The book dives deep on the concept of “knowledge” – what does it even mean to know something?

This is not for the faint of heart. There are lots of references to research projects and scientific papers.

What the book doesn’t really tell us is what to do. In fact, now that I look back, I don’t know that the book ever claimed to do this. It’s declarative – it tells us what IS, not how to change it. I mean, look at the subtitle: “How organizations acquire knowledge…” This isn’t a book that tells you what to do. This is a book that just tells you what IS, and I guess it’s up to us to figure out what to do with it?

The last chapter drifts into advice a little bit, but not much. This is the kind of book that begs a follow-up. I suspect the publisher is bugging the author about writing a “more approachable” version that gives some advice and has a … happier ending? As it stands, this is not your typical business trade paperback, but it more a textbook you’d read if you were getting a masters in psychology.

Book Info