Using critical KM to address wicked problems

John Dumay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Today, knowledge management (KM) is mainly directed towards solving tame organisational problems. But I argue, in this personal essay, that KM can move beyond organisational boundaries to address the “wicked” social problems impacting our globe. As KM researchers and practitioners, we need to reconceptualise KM as a technology for improving society. Through problem-driven research, we can use the critical voice of KM to expose and tackle issues of substance. While it is essential to improve organisational efficiencies and manage knowledge inside companies, it should not be at the expense of society. By understanding the impacts KM can have on improving society, not just organisations, researchers, practitioners and policymakers can replace communities of practice with collaborative organisational coalitions to help address the wicked problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalKnowledge Management Research and Practice
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jul 2020


  • collaborative organisational coalitions
  • Critical knowledge management
  • problem-driven research
  • social sustainability
  • tame problems
  • wicked problems


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