The Evolution from Data to Wisdom in Decision-Making at the Level of Real and Virtual Networks

The Evolution from Data to Wisdom in Decision-Making at the Level of Real and Virtual Networks

Andrew Targowski (Western Michigan University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-070-7.ch014
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This chapter provides theoretical analysis and synthesis of how computer applications are applied in problem-solving and decision-making in practice of real and virtual networks. The defined semantic ladder of cognition units provides the background for the analysis of the evolution of Knowledge Management technology and its applications in problem-solving and decision-making processes. The defined categories of decision-making tasks allow for the categorization of activities in network-oriented collaboration and the review of knowledge technology application in their implementations. Based upon this approach, the review of Knowledge Management technology is synthesized in real and virtual networks. Eventually both kinds of networks are compared by the Knowledge Management application criterion. However, Knowledge Management technology, despite its growing popularity is not the ultimate application, since wisdom not knowledge is the ultimate unit of cognition. Its structure in the civilization context is synthesized. Conclusions for theoreticians and practitioners are offered.
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The purpose of this chapter is to provide the theoretical background for the computer-driven applications in problem-solving and decision-making in practice of real and virtual networks. The main premises of this study are as follows:

  • 1.

    So far Knowledge Management systems (KMS) were limited to data and information processing, but with the dawn of data mining, they should be very useful in elaborating rules of knowledge of a given business or organizational unit, which should enhance problem solving and decision-making in practice.

  • 2.

    The KMS can be useful but is not the ultimate feature in problem-solving and decision-making, since the ultimate factor is wisdom, which is very difficult to automate. Hence the wisdom-oriented approach towards problem solving and decision-making is defined in this chapter.

  • 3.

    The evolution approach towards knowledge and wisdom applications in problem-solving and decision-making is applied in this study in order to understand stages (and their possible success/failure factors) of information technology applications in applying these units of cognition.

The decision-making process is predominantly a cognition-oriented process. Cognition as a process is mostly associated with thinking, which processes information either stored in human memory or just fed into it from external sources. The “source material” in cognition-oriented processes is information. However nowadays, information can be treated as a colloquial term, which must be decomposed into more elementary, quanta kind of units, which will be called cognition units, such as; data, information, concept, knowledge, and wisdom. They convey the essence of thinking and decision-making under the form of message semantics. Of course there is a question of how do they sent it through several gates of mind, and external channels of communication. This flow reflects the syntax aspect of cognition units processing and handling. In this study this aspect is limited to networks, either real or virtual. Another aspect of messaging in decision-making is the pragmatic aspect of cognition which deals with the question: Why is a decision made? This aspect is not considered in this study. These three cross-sections of cognition are treated under the framework of Knowledge Management systems as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

The cross-sections of knowledge management systems

Knowledge management systems’ technological tools are closely related to information technology as well as to organizational learning initiatives. Knowledge management may be distinguished from organizational learning by its greater focus on the management of specific knowledge assets and development and cultivation of the channels through which knowledge flows for the purpose of decision-making, supported by information technology.

This study will look how cognition units can be applied in the problem-solving/decision-making processes in order to make these processes more information-concept-knowledge intensive. The evolution of KMS will provide some suggestions for the limits of technology applications in management. This technology will be allocated in various processes taking place in real and virtual networks in order to evaluate its usefulness for decision-makers.

Since the potential of KMS seems to be endless, there is a question: How far can this technology automate decision-making? The answer will be provided after reviewing a concept of wisdom, which is one of the cognition units with the highest complexity. Based on these considerations some suggestions for practitioners and researchers as well as for developers will be provided.


The Semantic Ladder Of Cognitive Units

The process of communication in decision-making, as the main process of KMS, conveys meaning through five units of cognition:

  • Datum (D)

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Knowledge Management and Virtual Organizations
Chapter 1
Fernando Garrigos
This chapter presents the interrelationships between professional virtual communities and social networks, and analyzes how, and in what ways, these... Sample PDF
Interrelationships Between Professional Virtual Communities and Social Networks, and the Importance of Virtual Communities in Creating and Sharing Knowledge
Chapter 2
Luis V. Casaló
The rapid growth of virtual communities has created a new interest in researchers. Indeed, understanding these communities is especially relevant... Sample PDF
The Role of Trust, Satisfaction, and Communication in the Development of Participation in Virtual Communities
Chapter 3
Cesar Camison
Organisations are finding it more difficult to keep abreast with the pace of change. The continuous rise of business opportunities and the increase... Sample PDF
Can Virtual Networks Encourage Knowledge Absorptive Capacity?
Chapter 4
Montserrat Boronat Navarro
In this study we adopt an inter-organizational view to examine virtual organizations. Thus, we understand this phenomenon as a strategic agreement... Sample PDF
Knowledge Integration Through Inter-Organizational Virtual Organizations
Chapter 5
Mark E. Nissen
In today’s increasingly networked world of organizational practice, information and computer technologies are enabling people and organizations to... Sample PDF
Visualizing Knowledge Networks and Flows to Enhance Organizational Metacognition in Virtual Organizations
Chapter 6
Eduardo Bueno Campos
The aim of this chapter is to deepen the concept of ‘Communities of Practice’ (CoPs) from the understanding of a reference framework for knowledge... Sample PDF
Model on Knowledge-Governance: Collaboration Focus and Communities of Practice
Chapter 7
Josep Capó-Vicedo
This chapter highlights the necessity of establishing relationships with other companies and external agents in order to empower the creation and... Sample PDF
Knowledge Management in SMEs Clusters
Chapter 8
Raquel Sanchis
This chapter presents a general overview of the relationships between information and communications technologies (ITCs) and the process of... Sample PDF
Tools for Supporting Knowledge Management: Knowledge Internalization Through E-Learning
Chapter 9
Cesar Camison, Carlos Devece, Daniel Palacios, Carles Camisón-Haba
In this chapter we describe a practical tool useful to managing knowledge in the firm. It has already been introduced and tested in several firms... Sample PDF
The Value of Virtual Networks for Knowledge Management: A Tool for Practical Development
Chapter 10
M. Eugenia Fabra, Cesar Camison
Companies are increasingly conscious of the fact that the achieving of their objectives, together with the improvement of their competitive... Sample PDF
Human Capital and E-Learning: Developing Knowledge Through Virtual Networks
Chapter 11
Júlio Da Costa Mendes
This chapter looks to analyse new paradigms in the relationship between public and private organisations towards tourism destinations. It proposes... Sample PDF
The Development of Knowledge and Information Networks in Tourism Destinations
Chapter 12
E. Claver-Cortés
Government agencies are being pressed to become more efficient. For this reason, e-government strategies result from the expectations from society... Sample PDF
E-Government Challenges: Barriers and Facilitators in Spanish City Councils
Chapter 13
Hindupur Ramakrishna
The chapter presents a conceptual framework that identifies technological and organizational factors that impact the success of business analytics... Sample PDF
Business Analytics Success: A Conceptual Framework and an Application to Virtual Organizing
Chapter 14
Andrew Targowski
This chapter provides theoretical analysis and synthesis of how computer applications are applied in problem-solving and decision-making in practice... Sample PDF
The Evolution from Data to Wisdom in Decision-Making at the Level of Real and Virtual Networks
Chapter 15
Editor Conclusions  (pages 278-279)
Cesar Camison
The study of virtual organizations encompasses several research fields, and the variables involved in each of them are sometimes closely related.... Sample PDF
Editor Conclusions
Chapter 16
Andrew P. Sage, Cynthia T. Small
This chapter describes a complex adaptive systems (CAS)-based enterprise knowledge-sharing (KnS) model. The CAS-based enterprise KnS model consists... Sample PDF
A Complex Adaptive Systems-Based Enterprise Knowledge Sharing Model
Chapter 17
James G. Williams, Kai A. Olsen
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 opened competition in the telecommunications market in the U.S. and forced the incumbent telecommunications... Sample PDF
Developing a Telecommunication Operation Support Systems (OSS): The Impact of a Change in Network Technology
Chapter 18
Tor Guimaraes
Emerging agent-based systems offer new means of effectively addressing complex decision processes and enabling solutions to business requirements... Sample PDF
Enabling the Virtual Organization with Agent Technology
Chapter 19
Jens Gammelgaard
In geographically dispersed organizations, like multinational corporations (MNCs), contextual gaps exist between senders and receivers of knowledge.... Sample PDF
Virtual Communities of Practice: A Mechanism for Efficient Knowledge Retrieval in MNCs
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