The Chiefs of Knowledge: CKO, CLO, and CPO

Abstract: The field of knowledge management continues to garner both academic and practitioner interest. While much has been written about the technological, social, and economic aspects of managing knowledge in organizations, little is known about the managers who lead the engagements. In the following research project, we examine the roles of three C-level executives — Chief Knowledge Officers, Chief Learning Officers, and Chief Privacy Officers, these individuals are tasked (and titled) to manage various aspects of an organization’s knowledge assets. Specifically, we seek to explicate how the three kinds of Chiefs contribute to knowledge management activities of the organization. To this end, we have employed a two-stage research methodology. First, we searched for news announcements reflecting newly created CKO, CLO, and CPO positions. A thorough coding of these announcements was conducted to profile CKOs, CLOs, and CPOs. Moreover, we examined the reasons for their hiring and their expected contribution to the organization. In the second stage of the research, we conducted semi-structured interviews with a select group of CKOs, CLOs, and CPOs to gather further insights and to validate findings from the secondary data. We have discovered that the three Chiefs play distinct yet inter-related roles in knowledge management.

Keywords: Chief Knowledge Officers; Chief Learning Officers; Chief Privacy Officers; Knowledge management; Leadership

Yukika Awazua, Kevin C. Desouza: “The Knowledge Chiefs: CKOs, CLOs and CPOs”, European Management Journal, Volume 22, Issue 3, June 2004, Pages 339–344

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