Buy Used
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by hippo_books
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Item qualifies for FREE shipping and Prime! This item is used.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Common Knowledge: How Companies Thrive by Sharing What They Know Hardcover – March, 2000

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
$6.83 $0.01

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business School Press; 1 edition (March 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875849040
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875849041
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #704,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"The hope of 'knowledge management' will remain unfulfilled unless organizations learn how to tap into not just their employees' facts and observations, but their hopes, fears, dreams, and feelings. Nancy Dixon has studied the ways in which knowledge truly spreads, and she describes the practice in real-life detail, blending a keen feel for organizational design, in-depth research, practicality, and high spirits."
-Art Kleiner, Coauthor of The Dance of Change and Author of The Age of Heretics

"Common Knowledge is valuable to readers interested in understanding the practices by which knowledge is transferred. An important contribution to the knowledge management literature."
-Stephen Denning, Program Director, Knowledge Management, World Bank

"Nancy Dixon offers insightful case studies that identify the obstacles facing organizations that implement knowledge management practices, and outlines the techniques to overcome them. Her book reveals that by focusing on getting 'best demonstrated practices,' we can all improve and leverage what we already know in our organization."
-Jack W. Hugus, Ph.D, Vice President of Best Practices, Lockheed Martin Corporation

"Common Knowledge presents an elegant view of how knowledge is transferred and provides a simple framework to better understand the complexity of knowledge management."
-Gary Merriman, President, Exploration Production Americas, Conoco, Inc.

"Nancy Dixon brings her unique blend of insight and lucidity to the business of knowledge management. By pointing out the fundamental shifts that are taking place in our view of knowledge, she shows us why the knowledge management systems that work do work, and specifies the design principles that could make such systems work in your organization."
-Mike Pedler, Revans Professorial Fellow, Revans Centre for Action Learning & Research, University of Salford, UK

About the Author

Nancy M. Dixon is an Associate Professor of Administrative Sciences at The George Washington University. She lives in Washington, D.C.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Henry Lindborg on May 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is the best book available on knowledge transfer. Based upon the author's deep understanding of organizational learning theory and her careful examination of the practices of major corporations, it offers clear definitions of five types of knowledge transfer, along with criteria, design guidelines, business drivers and potential barriers for each. Examples of each transfer type (from teams reviewing their actions in order to perform better together in a new setting to strategic learning and sharing of expert knowledge) are employed less to bolster a thesis than to illustrate how classifications were evolved and tested. Intelligently crafted categories based upon similarities of tasks and contexts, the nature of tasks, and knowledge type provide a framework for organizations to build a system for employing "common knowledge" for business objectives. Written with clarity and grace, this volume explores the power of metaphor and of the values of sharing, listening and trust, while developing our most practical guide for integrating effective knowledge transfer into organizations' strategic architecture. Highly recommended.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Dixon does indeed explain HOW companies thrive by sharing what they know. (She apparently agrees with Derek Bok, former president of Harvard, when responding to irate parents after a tuition increase: "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.") In her Introduction, she identifies three myths (or assumptions about the idea of knowledge sharing: (1) build it and they will come (the so-called "Field of Dreams Syndrome"), (2) technology can replace face-to-face, and (3) first you have to create a learning culture. "Many of the organizations I studied started with one or more of these assumptions and then had to make corrections to get back on track." She then explains why each myth or assumption is either wrong or inadequate. After that, she observes: My major goal in writing this book is to broaden readers' thinking about how a company might share knowledge. Therefore I discuss many ways in which real companies have successfully transferred knowledge....Another goal is to help readers figure out which of these many systems [subsequently analyzed] would be most effective in their own settings -- how to tell whether BP's Peer Assist would be more effective than Ford's Best Practice Replication." All this in the Introduction (!) which serves as the first of the nine chapters within which her material is organized.
The objective of Dixon's study of ten organizations (ranging from Bechtel to the U.S. Army) was to understand why some knowledge transfer systems are effective...and why others are not. Eventually, she concluded that "These organizations know a great deal about how...but much less about why.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By G. Thompson on April 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very important book and (I predict) will have a long-lasting effect on the field of knowledge management. Dixon organizes the field, providing a vocabulary and a framework for what is emerging in leading edge companies around the globe as a strategic advantage.
The book is beautifully written. The clear examples and case studies illuminate and add depth to her materials. This book should be the first thing that anyone reads who is considering how to transfer the knowledge (both tacit and explicit) that already exists within a company to others in the company who need it. Dixon is careful to point out that she is not providing a "recipe book" ("one size fits all"); rather, she is giving guidance on what works in particular situations and then inviting readers to begin on their own exploration. Dixon describes that exploration as a necessary first step in creating a knowledge transfer system within a company.
Incidentally, her chapter dealing with how knowledge is changing (moving from the "warehouse" model to the "flow of water" model) makes me want to ask her to write another book -- soon -- to expand on her ideas.
A pleasure to read. I have already recommended it to two clients and I intend to tell others about it soon.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By kevin horst on February 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
In presenting alternative systems of knowledge sharing, and their strengths and weakenesses for the types, times, and range of knowledge, Dixon's best contribution is to guide the reader from following certain dead-ends, though not necessarily ensuring a success down the right path.
This book, though incredibly well-written in clarity and focus, is not so practical for the working manager faced with creating a "KM Solution" that will stick, as it is for those task forces and executives thinking about KM solutions and wanting to avoid mistakes - oh so common in today's organizations!
So, if you are looking for high-level descriptions of the various systems of knowledge sharing, their strenghts and weakenesses, the cases in the book are lively, thought-provoking, and interesting to follow along.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Madan Mohan Rao on January 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Looking for in-depth case studies of KM in action at large organisations? This book offers a superb collection and analysis of knowledge transfer techniques at companies like Ernst&Young, Bechtel, Ford, Chevron, British Petroleum, Texas Instruments, and the U.S. Army.
The material is divided into 9 chapters, and the writing style is very focused and precise. Useful flowcharts and checklists make the material a must-read for KM professionals and management strategists.
Dixon begins by deconstructing some common myths � such as �build it and they will come.� Knowledge transfer which is merely based on accumulating electronic databases will bring about neither appropriate contributions nor adequate retrievals; incentives, discipline, actionable results, alignment with objectives, and face-to-face communication are key requisites.
Going beyond broad generalizations of organizational knowledge management, the book focuses specifically on the issue of knowledge transfer, and identifies five key categories of lesson sharing in large companies: serial transfer, near transfer, far transfer, strategic transfer and expert transfer.
They differ in terms of who the intended knowledge receiver is (same or different from the source), the nature of the task involved (frequency and routine), and the type of knowledge being transferred (tacit/explicit).
One chapter each is devoted to the five kinds of transfer mechanisms, and two chapters tie all the material together in terms of guidelines for building knowledge transfer systems.
In serial transfer, the collective knowledge a team has gained from doing its task in one setting is transferred to the next time that the same team does the task in a different setting.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?