Common Information Spaces in Knowledge-Intensive Work: Representation and Negotiation of Meaning in Computer-Supported Collaboration Rooms

Common Information Spaces in Knowledge-Intensive Work: Representation and Negotiation of Meaning in Computer-Supported Collaboration Rooms

Vidar Hepsø (Statoil Hydro Research and Norwegian School of Management, Norway)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-176-6.ch017
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Abstract

In knowledge management literature, common information spaces (CIS) are believed to be instrumental in the development and sharing of knowledge. These information spaces provide the arena to facilitate knowledge creation, knowledge management, boost multidisciplinary collaboration and therefore increase the performance of the organization. In a global oil and gas industry an increasing part of the communication in day-to-day operations takes place in specially designed videoconferencing and collaboration rooms. This chapter addresses the role such information spaces play and some of the implications for practice when it comes to knowledge-intensive work: diversity, work relations and identity. What is regarded as “common” or ”shared” among heterogeneous groups of professionals working within such information spaces is challenged.
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Introduction To ‘Common’ Information Spaces

The need to have a strong integration between collaborative knowledge work and common information spaces has been apparent in the business literature since the development of theories of information management and BPR (Hammer & Champy, 1993) in the 1980s and 1990s. From there it has spread to knowledge management (Davenport, 2005; Ciborra, 2000). Boland and Tenkasi (1995) have argued that knowledge production requires communication within and between an organization’s multiple communities of knowing. The most important challenge for knowledge-intensive organizations is to make each community strong while at the same time nurturing the ability to take the perspectives of other communities of knowing into consideration. Before considering common information spaces (CIS) it is worth considering Boland and Tenkasi’s conception of perspective taking and perspective making since these two concepts are important in what follows. Communication that strengthens the unique knowledge and practice of a community of knowing is perspective making. As the community’s perspective grows stronger it becomes more complex and more able to meet the knowledge work requirements. Unexpected events or findings can only be recognized as such from within a perspective. Boland and Tenkasi argue that without a strong perspective a community of knowing cannot create important knowledge. The relevance for a discussion on CIS is that the community must have a ‘space’ for conversation and action that is isolated from other communities to be able to nurture their vocabulary, methods, theories, values and logic. Perspective taking is communication that makes it possible for the community to take the knowledge of other communities into account. This means that the community must be able to overcome the incommensurability between communities without sacrificing the integrity and distinctiveness of their own perspective. The main challenge for perspective taking is that communication must first support perspective making processes: “Only after a perspective is differentiated and strengthened can it be reflected upon and represented so the actors in other communities of knowing have something to integrate through a perspective taking communication” (Boland & Tenkasi, 1995, p. 359).

Let us now turn to CIS. I assert that there are two major literature ‘clusters’ of importance that will enable us to grasp the essence of work practices associated with CIS. The first is the interdisciplinary study of computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) and the other is science studies/the social construction of technology. Each of these has the potential to go beneath the simplified notion of CIS that is often found in the management literature. These two clusters of thinking will be elaborated upon.

The CIS approach in CSCW was initiated by Kjeld Schmidt and Liam Bannon (1992). They were the first to link the conceptualization of cooperative knowledge work and common information spaces (CIS) across people in heterogeneous communities. In their work they stressed the practices associated with CIS: …“how people in a distributed setting can work cooperatively in a common information space - i.e. by maintaining a central archive of organisational information with some level of ‘shared’ agreement as to the meaning of this information (locally constructed), despite the marked differences concerning the origins and context of these information items. The space is constituted and maintained by different actors employing different conceptualizations and multiple decision making strategies, supported by technology.”(Schmidt & Bannon, 1992, p.22). They argue that embedded in the CIS concept is a ‘shared agreement as to the meaning of information’.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Communities of Knowing: A particular group or collection of people that shares a similar educational background, language, interest and a practice

Perspective Making and Taking: Concepts used to characterize the learning processes within and across various communities of knowing

Boundary Object: Concept intended to describe information used in different ways by different communities. Such objects are plastic, interpreted differently across communities but has enough immutable content to maintain integrity.

Shared Situational Awareness: Shared perceptions of environmental elements among a group of people within a given context of time and space, the comprehension of the elements meaning, and the projection of their status in the near future.

Common Information Space (CIS): Virtual or actual space constituted for people that collaborate whether co-present or distributed in time and space. A CIS contains shared information resources for those that participate in the activities of the space and facilitate their work.

Immutable Mobiles: An object or artefact that moves around but keeps its shape, like a map or a newspaper

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Foreword
Dariusz Jemielniak, Jerzy Kociatkiewicz
Acknowledgment
Dariusz Jemielniak, Jerzy Kociatkiewicz
Chapter 1
Davydd J. Greenwood
This chapter questions the clarity of the concepts of “knowledge society” and “knowledge-intensive organization”. In particular, the author asserts... Sample PDF
Are Research Universities Knowledge-Intensive Learning Organizations?
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Chapter 2
Juha Kettunen
The aims of knowledge management are to create knowledge and stimulate innovation. Knowledge management allows the knowledge of an organization to... Sample PDF
Construction of Knowledge-Intensive organizations in Higher Education
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Chapter 3
Jeff Gold, Richard Thorpe
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is usually conceived as a planned and formulated process for individual members of professional... Sample PDF
Collective CPD: Professional Learning in a Law Firm
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Chapter 4
Paul Trott, Andreas Hoecht
The United States and European economies have witnessed an enormous increase in the amount of specialized business services, which now provide... Sample PDF
Innovation Risks of Outsourcing within Knowledge Intensive Business Services (KIBS)
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Chapter 5
Lars Steiner
A new knowledge management perspective and tool, ANT/AUTOPOIESIS, for analysis of knowledge management in knowledge-intensive organizations is... Sample PDF
Actor-Network Theory and Autopoiesis: A New Perspective on Knowledge Management
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Chapter 6
Jo A. Tyler, David M. Boje
This chapter fits the theme, the interplay between creativity and control in organizations. Story is often claimed to be a way to elicit tacit... Sample PDF
Sorting the Relationship of Tacit Knowledge to Story and Narrative Knowing
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Chapter 7
Louise Grisoni
The central discussion in this chapter is that poetry can be used to provide a bridge between tangible, rational and explicit knowledge and tacit or... Sample PDF
Exploring Organizational Learning and Knowledge Exchange through Poetry
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Chapter 8
Ester Barinaga
“How do we define our project goal?” “How are we going to coordinate our independent national studies?” “Who is responsible for what?” “How are... Sample PDF
Vagueness: The Role of Language in the Organizing Process of Knowledge Intensive Work
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Chapter 9
Stephen Sheard
In this chapter the author offers an argument towards the resurgence of a proto-alphabetic imagination in electronic and mobile communications. It... Sample PDF
Tyranny of the Eye? The Resurgence of the Proto-Alphabetic Sensibility in Contemporary Electronic Modes of Media (PC/Mobile Telephony); and its Significance for the Status of Knowledge
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Chapter 10
Krzysztof Klincewicz
The chapter discusses the role of IT Research & Analysis firms in the diffusion of knowledge management. The research is based on content analysis... Sample PDF
Knowledge Management and IT Research and Analysis Firms: Agenda-Setters, Oracles and Judges
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Chapter 11
Fatima Guadamillas-Gomez, Mario J. Donate-Manzanares
This chapter analyses the implementation of knowledge management strategies (KMS) in technologyintensive firms. Firstly, a review of KMS in the... Sample PDF
Knowledge Management Strategies Implementation in Innovation Intensive Firms
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Chapter 12
Arla Juntunen
This chapter focuses on the development of the Knowledge Management (KM) platform, and, more generally, the knowledge- and resource based view (RBV)... Sample PDF
Developing a Corporate Knowledge Management Platform in a Multibusiness Company
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Chapter 13
Jonathan D. Owens
Success in new product development (NPD) can be considered a general aim for any company wishing to survive in the 21st Century. It has been found... Sample PDF
Modeling the New Product Development Process: The Value of a Product Development Process Model Approach as a Means for Business Survival in the 21st Century
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Chapter 14
Anders Örtenblad
The ambition of this chapter is to pay some attention to more obvious, as well as more subtle, methods for organizations to become independent of... Sample PDF
Achieving Organizational Independence of Employees' Knowledge Using Knowledge Management, Organizational Learning, and the Learning Organization
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Chapter 15
Angelo Ditillo
Knowledge-intensive firms are composed of various communities, each characterized by specialized knowledge. These communities operate as critical... Sample PDF
Balancing Stability and Innovation in Knowledge-Intensive Firms: The Role of Management Control Mechanisms
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Chapter 16
Aino Kianto, Jianzhong Hong
Nowadays knowledge and competencies are the key productive factors, and the organizational capability for continuous learning, development and... Sample PDF
The Knowledge-Based Approach to Organizational Measurement: Exploring the Future of Organizational Assessment
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Chapter 17
Vidar Hepsø
In knowledge management literature, common information spaces (CIS) are believed to be instrumental in the development and sharing of knowledge.... Sample PDF
Common Information Spaces in Knowledge-Intensive Work: Representation and Negotiation of Meaning in Computer-Supported Collaboration Rooms
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Chapter 18
Agnieszka Postula
This chapter presents and discusses two factors – creativity and control – which correspond to every organizational reality. IT specialists’... Sample PDF
Creativitiy and Control in IT Professionals' Communities
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Chapter 19
Patrocinio Zaragoza-Saez, Enrique Claver-Cortes, Diego Quer-Ramon
Knowledge is one of the basic production factors owned by enterprises, and knowledge management is one of the main dynamic capabilities on which... Sample PDF
A Qualitative Study of Knowledge Management: The Multinational Firm Point of View
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Chapter 20
Cliff Bowan, Pauline Gleadle
The chapter addresses a central dilemma from the viewpoint of dynamic capabilities and the resource based view of the firm: how to manage creativity... Sample PDF
Culture as a Dynamic Capability: The Case of 3M in the United Kingdom
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Chapter 21
Maria E. Burke
The purpose of this chapter is to consider an original way of improving Knowledge Management relationships. This is done within the context of an... Sample PDF
Cultural Issues, Organizations and Information Fulfillment: An Exploration Towards Improved Knowledge Management Relationships
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Chapter 22
Darius Mehri
The author worked in the research and design department at a large Toyota company in the late 1990s and experienced an innovative process where... Sample PDF
Engineering Design at a Toyota Company: Knowledge Management and the Innovative Process
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Chapter 23
Federica Ricceri, James Guthrie
The shift towards a knowledge based economy is at the core of the debate of contemporary management and accounting literature and organisations are... Sample PDF
Critical Analysis of International Guidelines for the Management of Knowledge Resources
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Chapter 24
Christiane Prange
Internationalization has accelerated the speed of knowledge generation and innovation. Thus, companies increasingly need to pool and create new... Sample PDF
Strategic Alliance Capability: Bridging the Individual Back into Inter-Organizational Collaboration
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Chapter 25
Meryem Sevinc, Lawrence Locker, John D. Murray
In the contemporary context of knowledge discovery, the amount of information and the process itself has increased in complexity. Relevant to the... Sample PDF
Automation vs. Human Intervention: Is There any Room Left for the Analyst in the Data Mining Process?
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Chapter 26
Joanna Shih
The hi-tech firms that predominate in Silicon Valley contain a large proportion of knowledge workers—employees with high levels of education and... Sample PDF
Temporality and Knowledge Work
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Chapter 27
Alice MacGilivray
Knowledge management is often associated with the need for change and related shifts in ontologies, ways of knowing and ways of working. Combine the... Sample PDF
Knowledge Intensive Work in a Network of Counter-Terrorism Communities
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Chapter 28
Tatiana Andreeva
Contemporary literature usually views knowledge creation and knowledge sharing as either independent or positively related processes. However, based... Sample PDF
Tensions between Knowledge Creation and Knowledge Sharing: Individual Preferences of Employees in Knowledge-Intensive Organizations
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Chapter 29
Steffen Boehm, Chris Land
Knowledge is implicitly assumed to form an increasingly important, or even the dominant source of values for today’s knowledge based organizations.... Sample PDF
The 'Value' of Knowledge: Reappraising Labour in the Post-Industrial Economy
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Chapter 30
Alexander Styhre
This chapter discusses the use of media in knowledge-intensive organizations. Media is defined here as the integration of technologies, practices... Sample PDF
New Media and Knowledge Work
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Chapter 31
Ben Tran
This chapter examines knowledge and innovation as invaluable factors affecting the longevity of large organizations. It presents the history and... Sample PDF
Knowledge Management: The Construction of Knowledge in Organizations
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Chapter 32
Premilla D’Cruz, Ernesto Noronha
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Redefining Professional: The Case of India's Call Center Agents
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Chapter 33
Dariusz Jemielniak, Jerzy Kociatkiewicz
Knowledge management and knowledge-intensive work are two of today’s hot buzzwords, though both already have a history of managerial usage. While... Sample PDF
Knowledge Management: Fad or Enduring Organizational Concept?
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