Towards a Peer-Recognition Based Accreditation Process

Disclaimer & Foreword

Firstly, this article is not necessarily the view of other founding members of the IKMSAA, and is intended to provide a basis for discussion and comparison of views.

Secondly, a word on the difference between the IKMSAA LinkedIn group and the IKMSAA organization and legal entity that is yet to be created and which would be the standards body.
The IKMSAA group on LinkedIn is just a discussion forum to debate the need, purpose, and founding of a legal entity which may or may not wind up being called the IKMSAA.
As such the LinkedIn group doesn’t need credentials, big names, funding, recognition, or even credibility – it just needs a certain level of participation. At some point IF the topic proves to have legs, the legal entity will be established (perhaps in Switzerland) and have a board of directors, a tea-pot, and some sort of satisfactory branding.

The legal entity will no doubt have dues and paid memberships, sponsors, and maybe permanent office-holders, the LinkedIn group does not need any of that in order to function as the birthplace of the legal entity and it isn’t the Borg, nor a cabal, nor even a secret society with a snappy handshake and funny hats.

Hope that is clear.

Working Groups

The heart of the process is the interaction between the membership and Working Groups and it is the output of Working Groups that members will vote on and select as policies and decisions of the IKMSAA as an organization. For the sake of discussion let’s imagine that exactly how and by what means a topic is selected is already in place.

Here’s in rough how I imagine it working:

  1. A Working Group is formed to address a specific topic, and acts as a research team to perform the usual steps of a research program – clarifying the research question or topic, performing literature reviews, exploring the problem area, and publishing findings and options.
  2. Once the working group has satisfactorily covered the topic ground and perhaps arrived at options, it publishes the work for comment by members and iteratively invites comment and input, and updates its published work until a stable version is reached for final publication.

Voting Process

Once options for a specific question have been published in final form by a working group, they will be put into a format for a vote by members, and the majority vote of members will be accepted and ratified as the de facto position of the IKMSAA.
Accreditation of an educational organization by the IKMSAA would in other words be what the membership accept to be accredited in their eyes.

Further refinements will be needed to establish whether census-voting will be done or if stratified random sampling or other sampling regime would be preferable, but perhaps it is good to mention again that the aim is to get a very large membership so that a vote by members represents in a significant sense the views of the population of KM Practitioners.
Some work will also be required to deal with contradictory or mutually-exclusive voting decisions, for instance where a current vote appears to contradict a prior vote.

Membership Types

I visualize two kinds of membership viz.

  1. Regular Members
  2. Voting Members

Regular (or ordinary?) members can be any person that draws breath and has an interest in the topic of accreditation for KM and may not necessarily be a KM practitioner of any kind. Academics, experts in other fields and even the lay public can be regular members. Regular members can serve on working groups, perhaps be elected to office, and can most definitely comment and submit opinions and evidence either to a working group or in general discussion.

Voting members must be KM Practitioners and pay dues, and only the votes of Voting Members are counted towards acceptance or rejection of any IKMSAA policy, rule, etc.

Of course I am very keen to see to what degree the process itself can be created and decided using the Working Group and voting mechanism.

Conclusion

I believe that this combination of working group, membership, and voting provides the basis for maximal transparency, legitimacy, and practicality, and that in sum it puts forward a Peer-recognition basis for accreditation which avoids the premise of a small cabal making decisions.

Please comment on this in the IKMSAA LinkedIn discussion rather than on this blog.

 

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Matthew Loxton is a Knowledge Management practitioner, and is a peer reviewer for the Journal of Knowledge Management Research & Practice. Matthew holds a Master’s degree in Knowledge Management from the University of Canberra, and provides pro-bono consulting in Knowledge Management and IT Governance to various medical institutions.

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