Knowledge Management Research Centre

Congratulations to Max Evans who is joining the Graduate School of Information Studies at McGill University as Assistant Professor in September 2013. Max defended his thesis last July; view his dissertation research on knowledge sharing here.


Congratulations to Ard Huizing (University of Amsterdam) and Mary Cavanagh (University of Ottawa) on the publication of their paper, "Planting contemporary practice theory in the garden of information science," in the latest issue of Information Research (vol. 16, no. 4; Dec 2011). This paper was previewed in a roundtable that Ard and Mary led at the KMRC last Spring (see below). Indeed, Ard did much of his writing of the paper when he was visiting professor at the KMRC. As stated in the abstract: "The purpose of this article is to introduce to information science in a coherent fashion the core premises of contemporary practice theory, and thus to engage the information research community in further debate and discussion." Read the paper and send Ard or Mary your feedback!


At the start of Fall 2011, KMRC is pleased to welcome 2 new members: Bob Logan (Professor Emeritus, U of T), and Brian Detlor (Associate Professor, McMaster).

Bob Logan has a variety of experiences as an academic involved in research in complexity theory, information theory, biology, environmental science, linguistics, industrial design and media studies. He published with and collaborated with Marshall McLuhan. He was also active in the business world operating a computer training company 1982-2000 and a Web development company from 1994 to 2000 through which he did extensive consulting in knowledge management. He was active in politics from 1974 to date. Among his many activities he served as an advisor to PM Pierre Eliot Trudeau, policy chair of the Ontario wing of the federal Liberal Party and an advisor to various federal cabinet ministers. He is also an author or editor of 12 books listed below and many articles in refereed journals. He is currently engaged in consulting in the electricity sector as an associate of Elenchus Consulting. He continues to teach The Poetry of Physics at the U. of Toronto where he is Prof. Emeritus. He also teaches the Think Tank course at OCAD U. where he is the Chief Scientist of the Strategic Innovation Lab. In June 2011 he was presented with the Walter J. Ong Award for Career Achievement in Scholarship by the Media Ecologyn Association. Contact Bob at loganatphysics [dot] utoronto [dot] ca.

Brian Detlor specializes and conducts research on Digital Literacy, Information Literacy, Community Informatics, Electronic Government, Portal Adoption and Use, Web Information Seeking, Knowledge Management. Brian has published in peer-reviewed journals and books, presented at domestic and international conferences, and garnered grant awards from national funding agencies. He has over ten years work experience consulting, designing and managing information systems. Recently, he was a visiting professor at the College of Commerce at DePaul University in Chicago. His co-authored textbook, Business-Driven Information Systems (2nd Canadian Edition), published in 2011 by McGraw-Hill Ryerson, is currently being used nation-wide in colleges and universities as an introductory textbook on information systems. Contact Brian at detlorbatmcmaster [dot] ca.


The KMRC is an informal group of graduate students, visiting scholars, faculty, and practitioners who are interested in research on knowledge management.  Please contact joel [dot] alleyneatutoronto [dot] ca (subject: KMRC) (Joel Alleyne), KMRC Coordinator, for more information.

We are in Room 622/640, Bissell Building, 140, St. George Street. Drop by for a chat!


Dr. Ard Huizing from the University of Amsterdam Business School was visiting professor at the Faculty of Information in Oct-Nov 2009 and Mar-Apr 2010. On April 16th, Ard led a research roundtable for current and former PhD students to discuss practice theory in relation to information science. The discussion is based on a paper he co-authored with Dr. Mary Cavanagh (University of Ottawa) on practice theory:

"An overview of the five key premises of practice theory is presented which intends to help readers assess the usefulness and relevance of this social theory for information science. These premises capture the distinct ontology, epistemology and methodology of practice theory. Practice theory provides novel insights in transcending the macro-objectivist and micro-subjectivist levels of analysis, in the sharing of tacit knowledge, in the emergent nature of knowing and learning, and in social order and change as dynamic outcomes of the tightly interwoven processes of knowing, learning and organising. These novel insights explain its increasing popularity in a growing number of academic disciplines."


Max Evans and Joel Alleyne, KMRC PhD students, have a paper published in Knowledge & Process Management that introduces a knowledge domain process model and applies it to inter-professional care: 

Evans, Max & Alleyne, Joel. 2009. The concept of knowledge in KM: A knowledge domain process model applied to inter-professional care. Knowledge and Process Management 16(4): p. 147-197. []

They also presented the paper in an In-Process research talk by KMDI grad students and fellows on April 8, 2010 in the Brian Cantwell Smith Ideas Exchange at the iSchool.


An update on Dr. Rivadávia Alvarenga Neto, who was postdoctoral fellow at the KMRC last year. The research he conducted with Chun Wei during his visit on the management of "ba" is being published in the Journal of Knowledge Management:  

Alvarenga Neto, Rivadávia & Choo, C.W. 2010. Beyond the Ba: Managing Enabling Contexts in Knowledge OrganizationsJournal of Knowledge Management 14(4).  


During this inter-session break, the KMRC is organizing two interesting sessions to which the community is invited.  Please contact joel [dot] alleyneatutoronto [dot] ca (subject: KMRC) (Joel Alleyne), KMRC Coordinator, for more information.

On April 20th 2009 (1100h-1230h), Dr Rivadávia (Riva) Alvarenga Neto, a visiting scholar from Brazil, will speak on The Management Of Knowledge In The Brazilian Organizational Context: A Shift Towards The Management Of "Ba".

On May 4th 2009 (1100h-1230h), Dr Hazel Hall, Director, Centre for Social Informatics, Edinburgh Napier University will speak on Information Sharing as Social Exchange in Online Environments.

These sessions will be held in Room 728 at the Faculty of Information, 140 St. George Street, Toronto. These sessions are open to members and friends of the Faculty of Information and KMDI communities. More details on these two presentations are below.


April 20th, 2009 (11am): The Management Of Knowledge In The Brazilian Organizational Context: A Shift Towards The Management Of "Ba"

Dr. Rivadávia Correa Drummond de Alvarenga Neto is Professor at Fundação Dom Cabral, a Brazilian business school ranked the 16th best business school in the world and the best one in Latin America according to the Financial Times Executive Education ranking 2008. He holds a PhD in Information Science from Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais Federal - UFMG, Brazil. Rivadávia speaks regularly on the subject of knowledge management and he conducted the first in depth qualitative study within the Brazilian organizational context in 2005. The results of this study will be presented and discussed along with case studies conducted in the last 8 years of research. Since 2001 he's been working with many international firms, such as Petrobras, Embrapa, ONS, Astra Zeneca, Linde, ABN Amro Bank, Anglo American, among others. His newest book has just been released in Brazil (Knowledge Management in Organizations, Editora Saraiva, São Paulo, Brazil, 2008).


May 4th, 2009 (11am): Information sharing as social exchange in online environments

Dr Hazel Hall, Director, Centre for Social Informatics, Edinburgh Napier University, EH10 5DT, UK

In 2001 Hall suggested that social exchange theory might provide a suitable theoretical framework to account for information sharing behavior in online environments (Hall, 2001; Hall, 2003). However, empirical work undertaken in a large multinational, where an intranet was deployed as the main channel for information and knowledge sharing, offered only limited evidence to support this view. Here elements of exchange theory, as drawn directly from the domain of economics, were deemed more appropriate (Hall, 2002). 

Two further studies of online information sharing behavior were conducted to investigate whether exchanges might be motivated differently in environments where participants are not salaried staff. Blogging tools were provided to students in a university setting as the main locale for the discussion of theoretical class content. Analysis of a range of data collected from the two most recent cohorts of students (including patterns of their online exchanges) supports the view that social exchange theory can explain non-economic transactions between actors (Bignoux, 2006, p. 619). From these findings it is evident that established social connections, as well as proximity in the physical world, translate to a greater willingness for individuals to share information with others online. For example, students in established friendship pairs at the start of the course were more likely to reciprocate comments on one another's blog entries than those who were not. Added to this there was evidence of the development of a gift economy across the class blogosphere as students made decisions as to with whom they would discuss the theoretical content of the class. 

As well as providing an opportunity to consider the role of social exchange theory as an explanatory factor for information sharing practice, the paper prompts consideration of the conditions conducive to the encouragement of participation in online learning environments with reference to both external interventions as incentives, and the internal management of social capital.

Bignoux, S. (2006). Short-term strategic alliances: a social exchange perspective. Management Decision, 44(5), 615-627.

Hall, H. (2001). Social exchange for knowledge exchange. Paper presented at the International Conference on Managing Knowledge, University of Leicester, April 10-11 2001.

Hall, H. (2002). Sharing capability: the development of a framework to investigate knowledge sharing in distributed organizations. In Proceedings of the Third European Conference on Organizational Knowledge, Learning and Capabilities, 5-6 April, Athens, Greece (CD ROM). Athens: Alba.

Hall, H. (2003). Borrowed theory: applying exchange theories in information science research. Library and Information Science Research, 25(3), 287-306.