Knowledge Management is interpreted through a social perspective, both in terms of the development of the concept, and in its major components. This perspective is demonstrated as an effective means of interpreting the confusion that surrounds the topic, and of exploring questions about its character, its genesis, the nature of its literature and its future development. There are also important social perspectives in the key issues of the subject itself, involving the concept of knowledge, the human and social dimensions, the role of technology, measurement, top management and the professions involved. Adaptation of the principles to other organisational and social contexts also needs consideration. Finally, the various social disciplines, in particular Information Sciences, have much to offer the field of Knowledge Management. Knowledge Management is the latest wonder theory. In a few short years it has appeared, apparently from no- where, and is now spawning masses of books, articles, conferences and Internet sites, gathering up any vaguely associated activity into a whirling mass of visions, ideals, ideas, practices, technologies, consultancies and case studies. Whether it is communications, data bases, artificial intelligence, HRM, organisational design, organisational culture, work groups, learning organisations, training, system engineering or information technology and services, they are all being caught up and carried along in the whirling dervish. It is easy for the cynic to pass it off as a fad - we have had PPBS (Program Planning and Budgeting Systems), MBO (Management by Objectives), MBWA (Management by Walking around), Excellence, TQM (Total Quality Management), CQI (Continuous Quality Improvement), BPR (Business Process Re-engineering), Downsizing, Benchmarking, Outsourcing - and now Knowledge Management - what's next - What will they do with wisdom? The term Knowledge Management is being attached to so many different systems, practices and technologies that many are bewildered and confused by its meaning and significance. People are seeking definitions and explanations - what is Knowledge, what is Management, can you manage knowledge, what is a Knowledge Management system, how do you measure Knowledge, is Knowledge Management cost beneficial, will it last? This paper addresses this confusion by looking at Knowledge Management as a social dynamic, rather than as a set of tools and techniques. It looks at the complex of attitudes, ideas, beliefs, cultures and political forces that mould and develop what is seen as Knowledge Management.