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Knowledge demanded for action: studies of knowledge mediation in organisations
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Knowledge enables action and is used in action, but organisations per se do not possess knowledge or perform actions. Organisations act through their members - human actors - who demand actionable knowledge to enable knowledgeable actions. Actors create knowledge in interaction with each other in the social world, and this dissertation aims to contribute to the understanding of knowledge mediation between actors in organisations. Knowledge mediation can be performed both with and without the use of information technology (IT), and this work is interested in both kinds. Three basic types of knowledge mediation have been identified: specific knowledge mediation (SKM), typical knowledge mediation (TKM) and random knowledge mediation (RKM). These types and their variants have been conceptualised and characterised based on, among other things, what triggers the mediation, who initiates the mediation and what instruments are used to accomplish the mediation. One significant characteristic of SKM and TKM is that they are triggered by problems that actors experience, while RKM is about serendipity. This work has also identified a number of circumstances that might facilitate or hinder knowledge mediation. These influencing circumstances are explained on the basis of the characteristics of the problem situation, the knowledge, the initiator, the knowledge receiver, the knowledge provider, the mediating instrument and the working environment. Concerning the instruments used to accomplish knowledge mediation, SKM, TKM as well as RKM exhibit variants of both IT-based and none IT-based mediation, which partly can be related to whether a personalisation strategy or a publication strategy is used to approach knowledge mediation. IT-based information systems (IS) have shown to represent crucial instruments to institutionalise and organise knowledge mediation. In comparison with oral communication, the use of IS offers high preservation and accessibility of signs used to mediate knowledge. One the other hand, the use of IS limits the possibilities of reasoning about interpretations and putting additional questions, which are some of the benefits of oral communication. The contributions of this work have been developed through a qualitative, interpretative case study approach. Three organisations - an energy firm, a publishing firm and an architect firm - have been used to empirically ground this work, and interviews and observations were the two main methods used to collect the empirical data.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2004. , 260 p.
Linköping Studies in Information Science. Dissertation, ISSN 1403-6231 ; 10
National Category
Computer Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-23687Local ID: 3185ISBN: 91-85295-47-7OAI: diva2:244002
Public defence
2004-12-10, Hörsal C3, Hus C, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-07 Created: 2009-10-07 Last updated: 2012-12-18

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Braf, Ewa
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Department of Computer and Information ScienceThe Institute of Technology
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