Social Media and Knowledge Management: Opportunity or Threat?

I’ve acquainted myself with the work of Georg von Krogh when I first dealt with Nonaka and Takeuchi’s (1995) Knowledge Creating Company in a module on Organizational Learning at the University of Nottingham. That is mainly because in 2006, Nonaka, von Krogh, and Voelpel published a review on Knowledge Creation Theory in the journal Organization Studies that I happened to come across while finishing my coursework for the above mentioned module.

More recently, Professor von Krogh and his colleagues edited a very interesting issue of the journal Long Range Planning dealing with social software and strategy, which I referred to in an earlier blog post. In his most recent article published in the Journal of Strategic Information Systems, von Krogh deals with the impact of social software on knowledge management. von Krogh states that, on the upside, employees who use social software can do their work more flexibly. In addition, they can take better, more timely local decisions and they can solve tasks and communicate more efficiently. On the downside, the protection of critical knowledge assets becomes increasingly difficult, threatening the overall value of the firm. As a consequence, costs and risks need to be carefully balanced against the potential gains.

von Krogh further poses a number of questions that need to be addressed by future research in the field of strategic information systems, namely:

  • What are the choices and implications of social software for knowledge processes in organizations, and how do these differ from those of traditional knowledge management?
  • What are the barriers and enablers to the adoption of knowledge management by social software in firms?
  • How does the firm ensure the value of knowledge when implementing knowledge management by social software?
  • How do firms balance implementations of knowledge management?
  • What are the consequences of knowledge management by social software for competitive advantage?
  • How do firms dynamically recreate boundaries?


Nonaka, I., & Takeuchi, H. (1995). The Knowledge-Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation. New York: Oxford University Press.

Nonaka, I., von Krogh, G. von, & Voelpel, S. (2006). Organizational Knowledge Creation Theory: Evolutionary Paths and Future Advances. Organization Studies, 27(8), 1179–1208.

von Krogh, G. (2012). How does social software change knowledge management? Toward a strategic research agenda. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems. 21(2), 154-164.

Published by

David Wagner

Senior Strategy Consultant at diva-e Digital Value Excellence GmbH (diva-e); Visiting Faculty at German Graduate School of Management and Law (GGS); Head of Research at Association for Community Management (BVCM)

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