While most of the research in Knowledge Management (KM) has focused on business communities, there is a breadth of potential applications of KM theory and practice to wider society. This paper explores the potential of KM for rural communities, specifically for those that want to preserve their social history and collective memories (what we call heritage) to enrich the lives of others. In KM terms, this is a task of accumulating and recording knowledge (using KM techniques such as story-telling and communities of practice) to enable its retention for future use (by interested people perhaps through KM systems). We report a case study of Cardrona, a valley of approximately 120 people in New Zealand's South Island. Realising that time would erode knowledge of their community a small, motivated group of residents initiated a KM programme to create a legacy for a wider community including younger generations, tourists and scholars. This paper applies KM principles to rural communities that want to harness their collective knowledge for wider societal gain, and develops a community-based framework to inform such initiatives. As a result, we call for a wider conceptualisation of KM to include motives for managing knowledge beyond business performance to accommodate community (cKM). © 2010 Operational Research Society.
- case study/studies
- knowledge communities; heritage