Integrative applications vary in the extent to which knowledge producers and consumers come from the same knowledge community.
At one extreme, lies electronic publishing, wherein the readers neither directly engage in the same work nor belong to the same practice community as the authors. Once published, the content tends to be stable, and those few updates that may be required are expected to originate with authors. The consumer accepts the content as it is, and active feedback or modification by the user is not anticipated.
Organizations’ newsletters are an apt example of this concept. At the other extreme, the producers and consumers are members of the same practice community or organizational unit. While still exhibiting a sequential flow, the repository provides a means to integrate and build on their collective knowledge. A best-practices database is the most common application. Practices are collected, integrated, and shared among people confronting similar problems. Regarding the organizational roles for managing integrative applications, acquisition requires knowledge creators, finders, and collectors. Capturing verbal knowledge requires interviewers and transcribers. Documenting observed experiences requires organizational reporters.
Refining requires analysts, interpreters, abstractors, classifiers, editors, and integrators. The organizational knowledge repository must be centrally managed by an individual or group of individuals with experience akin to that of a librarian. Finally, organizations may need people to train users to critically interpret, evaluate, and adapt knowledge to new contexts. Interactive Applications:Interactive applications are focused primarily on supporting interaction among people holding tacit knowledge.
In contrast to integrative applications, the repository is a by-product of interaction and collaboration rather than the primary focus of the application. Its content is dynamic and emergent. Interactive applications vary by the level of expertise between producers and consumers and the degree of structure imposed on their interaction. Where formal training or knowledge transfer is the objective, the interaction tends to be primarily between instructor and student, or expert and novice, and structured around a discrete problem, assignment or lesson plan. In contrast, interaction among those performing common practices or tasks tends to be more ad hoc or emergent. The most interactive forums support ongoing, collaborative discussions.
The producers and consumers comprise the same group of people, continually responding to and building on each individual’s additions to the discussion. The flow continually loops back from presentation to acquisition. With the appropriate structuring and indexing of the content, a knowledge repository can emerge. A standard categorization scheme for indexing contributions provides the ability to re apply that knowledge across the enterprise.
Interactive applications play a major role in supporting integrative applications.