Knowledge, Knowledge Work and Organizations:
An Overview and Interpretation

Frank Blackler

Lancaster University Management School


(Blackler, Frank. 1995. Knowledge, Knowledge Work and Organizations: An Overview and Interpretation. Organization Studies 16, no. 6: 1021-1046.)

There is current interest in the competitive advantage that knowledge may provide for organizations and in the significance of knowledge workers, organizational competencies and knowledge-intensive firms. Yet the concept of knowledge is complex and its relevance to organization theory has been insufficiently developed. Common images of knowledge in the organizational literature are identified, and a typology of organizations and knowledge types is constructed. Knowledge is analyzed as an active process that is mediated, situated, provisional, pragmatic and contested. The approach suggests that attention should be focused on the systems through which people achieve their knowledge and on the processes through which new knowledge may be generated.

To appear in "Strategic Management of Intellectual Capital and Organizational Knowledge" edited by Nick Bontis & Chun Wei Choo (Oxford University Press).