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Knowledge management and organisational learning : an international development perspective. An annotated bibliography

HOVLAND, Ingie
August 2003

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This annotated bibliography aims to review the current literature on knowledge management (KM) and organisational learning, particularly in relation to the international development field. It maps out the rationale and objectives of KM and learning in order to identify gaps and emerging themes of special interest to development actors and agencies. The specific characteristics and challenges of different types of organisations in the development field are reviewed in this paper. Most of the literature focuses on the knowledge needs of Northern and international NGOs, and some of the central authors in this field are highlighted. Some work also exists on KM and learning in relation to bilateral and multilateral donor agencies, and the World Bank as 'Knowledge Bank' has placed a new focus on knowledge issues. However, there is still a lack of literature on the knowledge needs and specific challenges of Southern institutions. A few of the studies that have been carried out are included in this bibliography, and the introduction draws out some of the issues they raise. Even less systematic work has been carried out on the specialised niche of research institutes and think-tanks within international development. A few gaps in the literature are identified: the first issue is whether KM and learning can increase the responsiveness of development institutions to the situation of the poor; the second is whether KM and learning can increase development organisations' impact on policy; the third question raised is whether KM and learning can improve the translation of development policy into practice; and the final question concerns Southern engagement in international development debates and decision-making processes

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