Embedded throughout this paper you will find the diversity of opinions that correlates to the diversity of theories, frameworks, case studies and stories that are related to the field of Knowledge Management (KM). We begin by introducing the Sampler Research Call approach and the 13 KM academics and practitioners working in different parts of the world who answered the call. We then provide baseline definitions and briefly explore the process of knowledge creation within the human mind/brain. After a brief (and vastly incomplete) introduction to KM literature at the turn of the Century, the frameworks of Sampler Call participants are introduced, and two early frameworks that achieved almost cult status—the Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom (DIKW) continuum and the SECI (socialization, externalization, combination and internalization) model—are explored through the eyes of Sampler Call participants. We then introduce the results of the KMTL (Knowledge Management Thought Leader) Study, which suggest theories consistent with the richness and diversity of thought interwoven throughout this paper. The field of KM is introduced as a complex adaptive system with many possibilities and opportunities. Finally, we share summary thoughts, urging us as KM academics and practitioners to find the balance between the conscious awareness/understanding of higher-order patterns and the actions we take; between the need for overarching theory and the experiential freedom necessary to address context-rich situations.
Keywords: knowledge, knowledge management, theory, information, learning, surface knowledge, shallow knowledge, deep knowledge, neuroscience, mind/brain, decision-making, higher-order patterns, complexity, thought leaders, practitioners, knowledge (proceeding), knowledge (informing), SECI model, DIKW continuum, wisdom, KM research, KM frameworks.