English   Danish

2010/2011  BA-3CKM  Communication and Knowledge Management

English Title
Communication and Knowledge Management

Course Information

Language English
Point 7,5 ECTS (225 SAT)
Type Mandatory
Level Bachelor
Duration One Quarter
Course Period Spring . Third Quarter
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study Board
Study Board for BA in Information Management
Course Coordinator
Nicolaas Mouton
Main Category of the Course
  • Communication
  • Management of Information and Knowledge Management

Taught under Open University-Taught under open university.
Last updated on 29 maj 2012
Learning Objectives
By the end of the course students should demonstrate the ability:
  • To analyze and synthesize information in order to construct and communicate knowledge.
  • To use analytical tools to examine the challenges of communicating knowledge between people with different disciplinary backgrounds.
  • To demonstrate a critical and independent understanding of the fundamental assumptions, possibilities, and limitations of the relevant theoretical literature.
  • To account for the required reading, and to illustrate points from the literature with examples from an empirical case.
  • To understand theoretical-empirical relationships, i.e. demonstrate an ability to establish an explanatory relationship between theory and practice, to use theories to generate and explain issues concerning significant aspects of practical problems, and to use the case to discuss fundamental assumptions, possibilities, and limitations in the applied theories.
  • To reflect on and critically assess their own ways of communicating knowledge.
  • To develop the ability to make sound, informed, and reasoned theoretical choices in their own analytical work.
  • To become active participants in scholarly debates, rather than mere bystanders who simply summarize the work of others.
20 min Individual oral exam based on group paper
Exam Period May/June
Individual oral exam in curriculum, based on a critical and independent literature review written in groups.

The regular exam is in March, and the re-examination is in August.
Prerequisites for Attending the Exam
Course Content

Aim of the course:

The basic aim of the course is to deepen the students’ understanding of the problems involved in communicating knowledge. The course has both a theoretical aim, namely to improve the students’ understanding of the communication problems that often arise between experts and laymen or between members of different occupational subcultures, and a practical aim, namely to learn how to translate discipline-specific knowledge so that it is intelligible to non-experts.


The course begins by providing provisional answers to very basic questions, such as: what is “knowledge”, what is “knowledge communication”, why is it a problem, how did it become one, and what can we do about it? Having sketched the big picture, we introduce a number of theories and concepts that offer a more nuanced understanding of specific problem areas. In order to get a proper grasp of such problems, we examine a number of relevant theories, all of which have different implications for both problem setting and problem solving. Similarly, we examine how notions like “boundary objects” and “frames of reference” may afford alternative angles on similar problems. Throughout, we will constantly shift focus back and forth between understanding the problems in theory, and solving them in practice.

Teaching Methods
• Thematic lectures that introduce, explain, and critically assess key concepts and theories
• Workshops in which the themes will be explored and developed in group discussions and group presentations

· Bechky, B. A. (2003) Sharing meaning across occupational communities: The transformation of understanding on a production floor.Organization Science, 14(3), pp. 312-330.

· Blok, A., Jensen, M. & Kaltoft, P. (2008) Social identities and risk: expert and lay imaginations on pesticide use. Public Understanding of Science, 17(2), pp. 189-209.

· Bowker, G. C.; & Star, S. L. (1999). Sorting Things Out: Classification and its Consequences.Cambridge: MIT Press, (Introduction, Chapters 1, 9 & 10)

· Carlile, P. R. (2002). “A pragmatic view of knowledge and boundaries: Boundary objects in new product development”. Organization Science, 13, pp. 442-455.

· Carlile, P. R. (2004) Transferring, translating, and transforming: An integrative framework for managing knowledge across boundariesOrganization Science, 15(5), pp. 555-568.

· Drake, D.B., Steckler, N.A., and Koch, M.J. (2004) Information sharing in and across government agencies: The role and influence of scientist, politician, and bureaucrat subculturesSocial Science Computer Review, Vol. 22, No. 1, 67-84

· Davenport, T. H. & Prusak, L. (2000). Working knowledge: How organizations manage what they know. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. (Chapters 4-5).

· Eppler, M. J. (2007). Knowledge communication problems between experts and decision makers: An overview and classification. The Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management, 5(3).

· Gulich, E. (2003) Conversational techniques used in transferring knowledge between medical experts and non-expertsDiscourse Studies, Vol. 5, No. 2, 235-263.

· Hildrum, J.M. (2009) “Sharing Tacit Knowledge Online: A Case Study of e-Learning in Cisco's Network of System Integrator Partner Firms”. Industry & Innovation, 16: 2, 197 — 218

· Lee, A. S. (1987). Quixotic Communication: The case of expert witness testimony.Science Communication, 8(4), pp. 549-585.

· Lévy-Leblond, J.-M. (1992). About misunderstandings about misunderstandings. Public Understanding of Science, 1(1), pp. 17-21.

· McCloskey, D. (1998) The rhetoric of economics.

· Putnam, H. (1973). Meaning and reference. The Journal of Philosophy, 70(19), pp. 704-706. (You only need to read the section entitled “A socio-linguistic hypothesis”)

· Ribeiro, R. (2007). The language barrier as an aid to communication. Social Studies of Science, 37(4), pp. 561-584.

· Star, S. L., & Griesemer, J. R. (1989). Institutional ecology, translations, and boundary objects: Amateurs and professionals in Berkeley's museum of vertebrate zoologySocial Studies of Science, 19(3), pp. 387-420.

· Swan, J., Bresnen, M., Newell, S., & Robertson, M. (2007). The object of knowledge: The role of objects in biomedical innovation. Human Relations, 60(12), pp. 1809-1837.

· Tushman, M.L. and Scanlan, T.J. (1981) Boundary spanning individuals: Their role in information transfer and their antecedentsThe Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Jun., 1981), pp. 289-305

· Wilson, T. D. (2002). The nonsense of knowledge management.Information Research (8)1.