Purpose – The major focus of the current paper is historical analysis of knowledge
visualization (KV) field. The great interest and growth of research on knowledge
visualization results in the need of defining its present state-of-the-art. The paper
addresses the question of solidness of theoretical basis and completeness of empirical
evidence within the field. It presents the main results of the critical literature review with
the focus on the works of Professor Martin J. Eppler and co-authors, whose articles and
books cover broad and diverse area of research on visual business knowledge models.
This research team forms the pioneering group in this field and may be called the St.
Gallen School of KV.

Design/methodology/approach – The papers is based on a systematic literature review
of 23 works on the given topic followed by in-depth analysis of the key papers. The
analysis was focused on research methods and applied methodology.

Originality/value – The paper proposes the novel definition of three phases of KV
research: preliminary, empirical and theoretical phase. The first phase answers the
question “What are visual business knowledge models? How can different visual
knowledge models be classified in accordance with certain business purposes?”. It
explores wide range of visual models which represent all types of business information.
In the second phase, the focus shifts from pure data to business knowledge with the main
research question “How does it influence on business processes?”. It explores number of
visual business knowledge models via empirical research. In the third phase, research is
aimed at answering the question “Why?”. Namely, why it works this way, why there are
certain restrictions, and why combination of visualization procedures is more efficient.

Practical implications – The papers may serve as an introduction to the researchers to
state-of-the-art of the modern KV field. For managerial practitioners, it shows the rich
palette of popular business diagrams (mind maps, concept maps, business diagrams). It
also cautions managers about the existence of cognitive pitfalls related to visualization,
suggesting to pay attention to emotional and social aspects of their use.

Keywords – knowledge management research, review, visual modelling, knowledge
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication12th International Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics
Subtitle of host publicationManagement in the 21st Century : Resilience, Creativity and Co-creation, IFKAD 2017
EditorsJC Spender, Giovanni Schiuma, Tatiana Gavrilova
Place of PublicationSt. Petersburg
PublisherИздательство Санкт-Петербургского университета
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)978-88-96687-10-9
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventInternational Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics - Высшая школа менеджмента, СПбГУ, Санкт-Петербург
Duration: 7 Jun 20179 Jun 2017
Conference number: 12


ConferenceInternational Forum on Knowledge Asset Dynamics
CountryRussian Federation

Cite this