Ignorance management



Ignorance management is a
knowledge management Knowledge management (KM) is the collection of methods relating to creating, sharing, using and managing the knowledge and information of an organization. It refers to a multidisciplinary approach to achieve organisational objectives by making ...
practice that addresses the concept of ignorance in organizations.


Logically, ignorance management is based upon the concept of ignorance. John Israilidis, Russell Lock, and Louise Cooke of
Loughborough University Loughborough University (abbreviated as ''Lough'' or ''Lboro'' for post-nominals) is a public research university in the market town of Loughborough, Leicestershire, England. It has been a university since 1966, but it dates back to 1909, when L ...
described ignorance management as: The key principle of this
theory A theory is a rational type of abstract thinking about a phenomenon, or the results of such thinking. The process of contemplative and rational thinking is often associated with such processes as observational study or research. Theories may b ...
is that knowledge management (KM) could better be seen as ignorance management, due to the fact that it is impossible for someone to comprehend and understand everything in a complete way. The only real wisdom is in recognising the limits and extent of one's
knowledge Knowledge can be defined as awareness of facts or as practical skills, and may also refer to familiarity with objects or situations. Knowledge of facts, also called propositional knowledge, is often defined as true belief that is distinc ...
, and therefore KM is essentially a matter of sharing the extent of one's ignorance with other people, and thus learning together. This process of knowing what is needed to know, and also acknowledging the power of understanding the
unknown Unknown or The Unknown may refer to: Film * ''The Unknown'' (1915 comedy film), a silent boxing film * ''The Unknown'' (1915 drama film) * ''The Unknown'' (1927 film), a silent horror film starring Lon Chaney * ''The Unknown'' (1936 film), a ...
, could develop a tacit understanding and could improve both short-term opportunistic value capture and longer term business sustainability.


Several attempts have been made to explore the value of managing organisational ignorance in order to prevent failures within
knowledge transfer Knowledge transfer is the sharing or disseminating of knowledge and the providing of inputs to problem solving. In organizational theory, knowledge transfer is the practical problem of transferring knowledge from one part of the organization to ...
contexts. The need to recognise the role and significance of power in the management of ignorance has been introduced to further enhance such efforts. Also, a growing body of psychology research shows that humans find it intrinsically difficult to get a sense of what we don’t know, and argues that incompetence deprives people of the ability to recognise their own incompetence (the Dunning–Kruger effect). The viewpoint of developing our understanding of organisational ignorance can yield impressive benefits, if successfully incorporated within a company’s KM strategy.Zack, M. (1999) Managing Organizational Ignorance. ''Knowledge Directions'', Volume 1, pp. 36-49.

See also

* Ignoramus et ignorabimus * I know that I know nothing * There are known knowns * Unknown known * Agnatology


Further reading

* * * * * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Knowledge Management * Information systems Ignorance