Knowledge Management: Filter – Then Publish vs. Publish – Then Filter

Knowledge management viewpoint

“How we conceptualize knowledge greatly impacts the way we design our KM systems and strategies” (Dixon, 2009). Knowledge management can be viewed in terms of how knowledge is shared, developed and conceptualized. Knowledge is not always truth in some respects, thus the ability to manage knowledge effectively determines the value of the asset. The advent of Web 2.0 has allowed a multitude of people to express themselves in a multiplicity of ways (Shirky, 2009). That said, the resulting management paradigm has been turned upside-down in an effort to afford this new knowledge base.

Filter – Then Publish

At one time knowledge was first organized and filtered by an individual or individuals based on fact then published at a relevant point in time. People were connected to content, thus knowledge increased explicitly (Dixon, 2009). This explicit knowledge continues and information in some of its forms still passes through a filter before it reaches the masses. Still, we have now seen a rise in knowledge resulting from experiences. These experiences are then shared in various forms such as the social network (Dixon, 2009). As Web 2.0 has evolved, knowledge has become collective in nature. Thus we are in a revolution of knowledge (Shirky, 2009).

Publish – Then Filter

The knowledge from a seemingly infinite number of sources is the product of new technology. These bits of information come from voices around the world, begging to be heard, but where does the consumer of knowledge draw the line in terms of fact-based information? One of the biggest problems with filtering after the fact lies in confirmation. With such an infinite number of sources contributing to the knowledge pool fact and fiction can get lost in the noise of the Internet. This is where leadership thrives.

The Role of Leadership in Knowledge Management

Leaders shine as beacons of knowledge management. The leader ensures that everyone has a voice, and in turn that the voice is balanced with accurate ideation. For example, the diligent leader presents both sides of an issue and gives relevant sources to help knowledge consumers find the right balance of information for their needs. The leader keeps the lines of communication open. The competent leader fights misinformation with relevant and verifiable knowledge from a variety of reliable sources. A great tool at the leader’s disposal produces a greater responsibility to manage. It is not the role of a leader to feed opinion, but to objectively manage information for greater understanding.


Dixon, N. (2009, May 02). Where Knowledge Management Has Been and Where It Is Going. Retrieved March 21, 2014, from Conversation Matters:
Shirky, C. (2009). Here comes everybody. New York: Penguin Books.

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Twaina Harris March 23, 2014, 3:14 am

    How do you or other leaders in your organization manage knowledge? Do they use a specific tool to “fight misinformation with relevant and verifiable knowledge”? In our responsibility to filter misinformation, this is not an easy task, but I think it is made easier when the employees trust the leader. Typically, I am informed about inaccurate information from individuals who want verification. Email is my tool for clearing up inaccuracies.

    Providing opportunities for collective knowledge is good for all leaders to practice as a way of encouraging open communication and conversation as well as for establishing trust among employees.

    • Jay March 23, 2014, 5:10 pm

      That is a very good question? As a funeral director fighting misinformation comes through weekly meetings with staff, and allowing employees to ask questions in an open forum. This helps keep employees up to date on the latest information available, and allows them to ask any questions about any concerns that they have. In turn, many people who visit the mortuary can be informed in a better fashion by the employee. As you may well imagine, there is a lot of misinformation that surrounds funeral service in the public eye. This being the case, it is important that knowledge management be a top priority at every level of mortuary operation.

      Good questions,
      Jay Prewitt

  • Britt Watwood March 23, 2014, 12:31 pm

    Nice post. Leaders as “beacons” of KM? I am not sure I would go that far. One of the more interesting examples of knowledge management that continues to evolve is Wikipedia…which thanks to the voices of millions, continues to self-correct when bad information is surfaced.

    So to bring it back into our organizations…how does a leader facilitate both the free exchange of information and the self-correction when faulty information surfaces (as it always will)?

    • Jay March 23, 2014, 5:21 pm

      I do like Wikipedia, and you are certainly right, it has evolved over the years to be a great source of information. It, I understand, is not considered to be a scholarly source, but I find myself in certain situation going to Wikipedia to find scholarly sources that I can read and sometimes refer. Even when bad information surfaces, one can go to some of the scholarly reference material in the annotations and find a lot of valuable information.

      As to your question about facilitating both free exchange and self-correction. In my organization it is done through trusted sources. For example, one of our funeral directors heard that we could do cremation for a family as long as one of the family members closest to the deceased agreed that it was what they wanted. This was not altogether true. The information was good to a point, but I investigated the information further with our Indiana Funeral Directors Association (IFDA) representative. I was told that it had to be a majority of interested parties. That is to say, if there was a surviving spouse and three children, only the spouse had the deciding vote. If there was three children, and no spouse, two of the three had to be in agreement. In other words majority rules. If one says its ok, that is not good enough if there are three or more members of equal or greater authority. The point here is that I test all information by a higher authority before I make it rule. This allows for the free exchange of any and all information (publish), and the certainty (then verify) of its beneficial truth for use.

      Thank you,
      Jay Prewitt

  • M.Gatewood March 23, 2014, 5:05 pm

    When you say, “A great tool at the leader’s disposal produces a greater responsibility to manage. It is not the role of a leader to feed opinion, but to objectively manage information for greater understanding.” I think you have uncovered a truth about leadership. A leader who tries to cover or over protect information is weak and insecure. A true leader cannot be afraid of an opinion, exposure, or negative feedback. They must manage these areas and use them to develop and prefect their team or organization. I work with students, who are not afraid to tell you when something went wrong. I do not always agree or like the comments, however it is my job to manage it. I am here to serve them and my organization. If I truly believe in the work I am doing, then I owe it to everyone I lead and serve to listen and apply my new knowledge. Understanding is true knowledge. It is taking those resources and putting them into motion.

  • Jay March 24, 2014, 3:04 am

    Understanding is true knowledge; I like it. It is good that you are able to take the feedback from those that you serve as a leader, to make the experiences of your students better. If we are afraid of the truth we are destined to fail in the conceit of our own reality.

    Thank you,

    Jay Prewitt


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