It seems to me that knowledge management suffers from 4-pane achromatopsia. What the hell are you talking about I hear you say! Well achromatopsia is a congenital vision disorder characterised by complete colour-blindness, central visual acuity loss, extreme light sensitivity, and rapid involuntary eye wobble. To put it another way the unfortunate individuals with achromatopsia have a limited field of vision, have great difficulty keeping focus, and wear dark glasses most of the time which further restricts their vision.
What do I mean by 4-pane? It seems to me we have a love affair with quadrant models. Just have a poke around the web and look at the various models. Beginning in the 1950’s we have Johari Windows and the Prisoner’s Dilemma models – the first designed as diagnostic to understand interpersonal communication and relationships, and the second to understand behaviour, decision-making and strategy. In the 1960’s we have Blake and Moutons’ Managerial Grid , which uses four panes to explain leadership styles. If we jump forward to the 1990’s we have Goffee and Jones’ Corporate Culture Model, where corporate culture is measured on solidarity and sociability axes. The result is a 4-pane window where corporate culture is classified as fragmented, networked, communal and mercenary.
To bring the discussion right into the knowledge management world, we must include Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi famous SECI Model – socialisation, externalisation, combination, and internalisation. And why not include Dave Snowden’s Cynefin Decision-making Framework, with its four panes – simple, complicated, complex, and chaotic? Patrick Lambe has his Knowledge Lens Framework – logos, sophos, ethos and pathos – and Matt Moore has his communication typology . Even my Knowledge Productivity Target and Stakeholder Management Target are quadrant models.