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SOCNET  December 2004

SOCNET December 2004

Subject:

Re: JM and KM

From:

Bill Ives <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Bill Ives <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 31 Dec 2004 14:20:55 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (143 lines)

***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****

Bruce

Thanks for sharing this paper. I look forward to reviewing it and I agree
with your comments on the Wilson paper. It has several flaws. You pointed
out one, the characterization of business people as idiots who need the
"airport" version of thought for dummies. As Thomas Kuhn suggested, there
are different paradigms for looking at the world. The business person might
look for practical business worth, rather than academic purity, as a value
and could easily cast equivalent arrows back at the arrogant Wilson's
divisive statements. I would prefer to look for ways to bridge the values of
academia and business.

Secondly, Wilson seems to describe information as the external
representation of thought, the representation that we have access to. He
describes knowledge as internal mental processes that vary within everyone
so it cannot be managed. Since Wilson dismisses any investigation related to
his definition of knowledge, he implies that these internal thought
processes are not something we can study. This position appears to dismiss
the field of cognitive psychology and I would take exception to this. Our
science is not perfect and relies on inferences but I think it is a
legitimate field of study. Cognitive psychologists certainly find that
everyone interprets "reality" and information differently, as Wilson states,
but that does not mean you cannot attempt to study internal thought
processes, as Piaget and many others have done. In fact, Jerome Bruner
attempted to look at how people go "beyond the information given."

An alternative, and practical, distinction between information and knowledge
relates to Bruner's quest. As a number of people have written, knowledge
involves using information to solve problems. Available information is
analyzed based on the knowledge of the individual problem solver. Knowledge
management has certainly been subject to many misuses and has been treated
as a fad by too many. The term itself, is a difficult one but a replacement
has not emerged. However, the legitimate practitioners of knowledge
management have tried to see how you can cultivate and share the knowledge
that people have gained, the knowledge that allows them to use information
to effectively solve problems. It is not an easy task, but one with a
worthwhile goal, a goal that would benefit the world.

I am new to this forum and new to the field of social network analysis,
being a cognitive psychologist by training. Normally, in this situation I
would remain quiet, but I could not resist offering these comments in the
spirit of constructive debate. Have a good New Years.

Bill Ives
-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Bruce Hoppe
Sent: Friday, December 31, 2004 10:48 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: JM and KM

***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****

Happy New Year, SOCNET!

Thanks for bringing up knowledge management, Don. I have always been puzzled
that there is not more active dialogue between the KM and SNA communities.

For an extremely concise overview of KM within a much grander survey of SNA,
I recommend this fine paper: "The Network Paradigm in Organizational
Research: A Review and Typology," by Stephen P. Borgatti and Pacey C.
Foster, Journal of Management 2003 29(6) 991-1013.

The entire paper is at

http://www.analytictech.com/borgatti/papers/borgatti%20and%20foster%202003%2
0-%20the%20network%20paradigm.pdf

Or you can skip straight to the KM section, complete with links to all the
relevant entries of the bibliography, by going here:

http://connectedness.blogspot.com/2004/08/social-networks-and-knowledge.html

Though I think skepticism of KM is entirely justified, I do find T.D.
Wilson's treatment quite opinionated -- really an editorial masquerading as
a research paper. (Not much of a disguise, with a title like "The Nonsense
of KM.") I guess he is trying to protect the sanctity of academe from the
messy world of business and marketing. But SNA strikes me as a field with
rich potential in both academe and business (including businesspeople who
work in KM) so I don't see Wilson accomplishing much other than inciting
more divisiveness.

Anyway, Borgatti et al's paper certainly aims a healthy dose of skepticism
at KM, but without laboring so hard to document the marketing double-talk of
KM. Instead they very constructively point to research in SNA that is
relevant to anyone who wants KM taken seriously. Or put another way, they
suggest underutilized research of SNA that could have more impact in the
business world of KM practitioners if it were marketed effectively.

Best regards,
Bruce

Bruce Hoppe, PhD
Community Networks
http://connectedness.blogspot.com


-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Don Steiny
Sent: Sunday, December 26, 2004 11:55 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: JM and KM

***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****

All,

        I was curious and suspicious of "knowledge management" due to its
advocacy by the eccentric (he said generously) JM. I found a really good
article on it for those of you who might be curious:

The Nonsense of "Knowledge Management" T.D. Wilson, University of Sheffield,
Information Research, Oct 2002

http://informationr.net/ir/8-1/paper144.html

-Don
--
Don Steiny - [log in to unmask] - [log in to unmask] Institute for Social
Network Analysis of the Economy - www.isnae.org
   125 Mission St #3 - Santa Cruz, CA 95060 - 831.471.1671 - fax:
831.471.1670

_____________________________________________________________________
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_____________________________________________________________________
SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an email
message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in
the body of the message.

_____________________________________________________________________
SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.

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