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September 27, 2011

Book review

Knowledge Management and Business Strategies
3 out of 5 stars

The book reveals its distinctive genre right from the first chapter, which is characterised by a highly pitched academic rigour and an epistemological approach, and it remains so consistently throughout. The literature reviews in every chapter has been without doubt aptly constructive to the topical theme and is comprehensive and thorough in nature. Considering that the book is accomplished by 24 contributors, the level of duplicated literatures cited by different chapters are extremely low, thus represents a high degree of coordination effort. Each of the three sections or even each of the 12 chapters can serve as a standalone reading and may be studied independently for a specific purpose. However, when one chose to work through the book systematically some discourses do appear to be overly lengthy and even duplicated occasionally, not verbatim, but in contents (e.g. even in Chapter 11, there is still a section on “What is Knowledge” whilst the book is drawn to close). The value of the book lies in the great coverage in the latest thinking and large collection of the developed frameworks in the area not to mention the highly sophisticated conceptual debates and in-depth exploration. However, one would prefer some more real-world case studies or just short case examples that lived the theory and engaged the real concerns. There is only one short case study presented in chapter 8. Also, on a much trivial note, a couple of diagrams and their text (e.g. the one on page 118, and Figure 3 on page 264) are too small to read.

Being an academic, I personally quite liked the book in that it addresses many intriguing theoretical under pinning on KM at the level that is intellectually challenging enough. It is, by usual academic standards, a well written and edited book in many respects. There is a consistent and high standard of subject language and rigorous approach in discourses and consistent logical structure employed across the12 chapters and 5 extended readings. The extensive coverage on the exploration of theories, strategic thinking, management frameworks and the analysis based on widely gathered factual data can be patently appreciated. The book is edited cohesively and the well structured logic flow through the subject areas can be easily grappled and it attained the richness and depth that any single author will find it daunting. The advantage of having multiple contributors, hence, has been appropriately harnessed. On the flipside of its strength, one may find it too notional to attempt for a quick grasp of the subject matter.

Based on the retailing price of £95, the book is not a cheap one, but it dose not take long to feel that it has a good value for the money. The extensive coverage and the level of the detail it carries offer a one-store-for-all collection. Along with the volume, it provides a comprehensive list of contemporary literatures in the subject area published around the world with in-depth reviews. It is also packed with benchmark-able information, data, and new models collected through countless research activities reported throughout the book.

The book is not suitable for any beginner, nor for reading through from cover to cover. It could be a highly valuable reference for library. Academics and consultants in this specific area will undoubtedly find it informative and mind-opening. PhD students or some Master level students may also find it valuable in some of their related research projects. But it would not be suitable for undergraduate students or any body lower than that level. I also doubt that the vast practitioners in real-world businesses will find it palatable, nevertheless one can never categorically exclude that case that with some help and guidance parts of the material could still be useful to them

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  • This sounds a good book, Dawei. Would you like it ordering for the Library? If so, can you let me ha… by Helen Ireland on this entry

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