Pluralism or trivialism: A comparative study of academic ECKM papers
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Original versionProceedings of the 22nd European conference on knowledge management. 2021, 2021 594-602.
The purpose of this paper is to analyze and compare all the papers in the proceedings of ECKM in 2017 (Barcelona), 2018 (Padua), 2019 (Lisbon), and the digital conference in 2020. The study classifies the papers according to methodology, analysis, discussion, and conclusion regarding their contribution to the four paradigmatic boxes. The approach uses a philosophy of science framework and compares this to the content of the research papers. We will use the findings in four representations of knowledge, two typologies of concepts, four paradigmatic classifications, and the concluding framework for knowledge management research. The four conferences have a heavy emphasis upon knowledge-itis and instrumental-itis and much less emphasis upon problem-itis. The papers are mostly centered around existing knowledge and accepted methodology and less related to new problems. The results indicate a conference based upon as-is knowledge and less upon new and often unsolvable problems. The ECKM academic papers in 2017, 2018, and 2019 have relatively low complexity presented in an empirical and materialistic paradigmatic framework through definitive concepts representing a form of atomistic research. The papers for the digital conference in 2020 are presented in a clarified subjectivity and materialistic-based framework through both definitive and sensitizing concepts. What would ECKM have been with a higher degree of complexity in action and subjective paradigmatic framework through sensitizing concepts representing a form of holistic research? Probably a more creative, engaged, and relevant conference. Probable also a more scientific conference since advances in knowledge demand not living up to the conference expectations data cannot meet. Data do not prove anything in themselves. It is only the logical argumentation and speculations of the researchers that can prove anything at all. Objectivity is in demand, but subjectivity is needed. There are more critical and green papers in the 2020 conference opening up for new perspectives in the choice of methodology, problems, and knowledge. To move ahead for better quality in the research, we find it necessary to break free from the empirical paradigm and the materialistic paradigm and move into the clarified subjectivity and action paradigm. Paradigmatic ecumenism will tend to a fiercer but idea-generating debate. This pluralistic approach will give more engaged practical research representing more sustainable societies and businesses. ECKM is on the road to include more pluralistic perspectives upon sustainability, value creation, gender issues, and the design of future knowledge work. There is a critical openness toward these issues making ECKM 2020 a more relevant conference than the ECKM conferences in 2017, 2018, and 2019.