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Reproducing knowledge: Xerox and the story of knowledge management

Cox, A.M. (2007) Reproducing knowledge: Xerox and the story of knowledge management. Knowledge Management Research and Practice, 5. pp. 3-12. ISSN 1477-8238


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This paper is a commentary on discursive transformations found in stories told about Xerox’s photocopier technicians, comparing particularly Orr’s brilliant ethnographic study and a later management case study. It argues that significant shifts take place in how knowledge is understood between these accounts so that what begins as elusive, oral, improvised and social becomes increasingly presented as encodable in a structured database, countable, auditable, individualistic. These ideological transformations seem partly to be a result of the needs of the genre of case study, and partly to do with Xerox’s own historic need to rebrand itself, and simply to sell a commercial product. The paper stresses the need to capture complexity in case studies if they are to promote a realistic or critical understanding of the organisation.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Xerox, knowledge management, case studies
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Information School (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Dr Andrew M. Cox
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2009 15:18
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2014 09:31
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.kmrp.8500118
Status: Published
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1057/palgrave.kmrp.8500118
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9047

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