The role of face-to-face conversations for social knowledge processes and sense making in organizations

[Deutscher Titel: Die Rolle persönlicher Gespräche für soziale Wissensprozesse und Sinnstiftung in Organisationen (Text übersetzen: Deutsch)]

Jeanne Mengis; Martin J. Eppler
Understanding and Managing Conversations from a Knowledge Perspective: An Analysis of the Roles and Rules of Face-to-face Conversations in Organizations
Organization Studies, Vol. 29, No. 10, 1287-1313 (2008)

Abstract: This article presents a discussion on the role of face-to-face conversations for social knowledge processes and sense making in organizations. Given the importance attributed to conversations in the literature, but also the many conversational routines that prevent knowledge creation and sharing, the question pursued is how conversations can be managed to foster developments in organizational knowing. We particularly focus on the role of explicit rules as one means to manage conversations from a knowledge perspective and analyse contributions from knowledge management, organizational learning, decision making and change management. In order to refine and systemize the discussion on the multitude of conversation rules, we propose a management framework by drawing on communication theory. Implications for management as well as future directions for research on conversation management conclude the article.

Key Words: knowledge management • conversation management • dialogue • sense making • conversation rules

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