Viewpoints on Complexity

There are, without a doubt, two people I really admire in the world of Knowledge Management. David Snowdon (Cognitive-Edge, UK) and Joe Firestone (KMCI, USA). Both are active on ActKM and despite their often competing world-views, I have greatly benefited from the feeback I have received from each of them.

The first paper by Snowdon I ever read "Complex Acts of Knowing - Paradox and Descriptive Self Awareness" introduced me to the concept of complexity in knowledge management and took Brenda Dervin's sense-making theories to a new level of understanding for me. I was unaware at the time, but Joe had posted "Generations of KM" as a response to that paper, also made some 6 years ago. I will re-read both in the coming weeks and hopefully get a lot better understanding on the points of difference between these two thought leaders.

If you are interested more in these two viewpoints, David has some brilliant papers available on his website and I am entertaining the idea of doing a Cynefin course after my Masters degree. Joe - a critical rationalist - has recently done a review of Cynefin as a sense-making framework. You can read in three parts: part 1, part 2 and part 3.

While I moved away from a direct study of SMEs using complexity theory because of the amount of work required, both my hypothesis and an interpretive methodology touch on complexity theory and I would like my thesis to be well grounded in terms of the current state of thought which is revealed in the history of these conversations.

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