In today's information-rich world enabled by powerful technologies and global communications networks, we face the dangers of information reductionism. We often allow ourselves to believe that the masses of information we collect about a skill, a company or a market equals the knowledge of an expert. We fail to notice that this information is by itself sterile, in the sense that it describes past events and not future potential. We easily bypass the fact that someone more knowledgeable is able to make more refined judgements of
significance on the same information that we hold. We take knowledge for granted, forgetting that what we are good at (what we know best) is embedded in the social practice of carrying out our work in collaboration with others, and that the same skills abandon us when we stop practising them.
These distinctive elements of knowledge are essential for understanding the ways in which firms convert their collective stock of expertise into value for their customers, their shareholders and society at large. This book advances our understanding of organizations as knowledge systems by exploring the processes of organizational knowing and learning, of managing distributed organizational knowledge, and the extent to which such processes become institutional-ized routines that contribute to the development of dynamic capabilities in firms over time.