“Standardization” of Knowledge Management

Though Knowledge Management has been “hot” for some time now, there is still a debate about whether the field is ready for standardization. There is some debate, in fact, about whether KM can ever be standardized.

This press release from KMCI (Knowledge Management Consortium International) presents a pretty compelling argument that KM is not ready for standardization, at least not from the likes of ISO:

The ISO is not an authority in the KM field. It has not developed specific Knowledge Management expertise or capability over a period of years. It has not developed criteria for standards evaluation and validation that are continuously tested and evaluated, but rather has developed such criteria based on mere consensus in the fields in which standards have been adopted and formulated. It has devoted no time or resources to developing a body of knowledge about the scope and nature of Knowledge Management. And its procedures, processes, and validation criteria are not exempt from critical analysis coming from a KM point of view.

In the view of KMCI, therefore, it is inappropriate for KM organizations to recognize the authority of ANSI or ISO in setting standards for KM. In fact, it is KM, as a discipline, and through its own organizations that should be setting standards for the processes of inquiry followed by ISO and ANSI in arriving at standards in other fields, and not the reverse.

I don’t think it gets any more clearly stated than that.