Information and Organization

Information and Organization

Andrew Targowski (Haworth College of Business, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 36
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-004-2.ch010
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Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to define information, mainly in terms of cognition units, and also to find out its other perspectives and images. Once we understand information, it becomes possible to define its role in an organization, particularly at the level of information systems. The issue of how more complex information systems may advance an organization to higher levels of structure (configuration) will be investigated. Modern complex organization is still very recent, about 50 years old, but can already be perceived to have some evolutionary phases. Finally, the transformation from the industrial to the informated model of an enterprise is described and both models are compared, with some conclusions about meaning for civilization’s well-being.
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Perspectives Of Information

The Quantitative Perspective of Information

This is one of the oldest perspectives on information meaning. From a quantitative perspective, information is the successful selection of signs or words that form a given list, rejecting all “semantic meaning” as a subjective factor [1]. Hartley (1928) showed that a message of N signs chosen from an “alphabet” or a code book of S signs has SN possibilities, and that the “quantity of information” is most reasonably defined as a logarithmic equation:

  • H = N log S [1]

Since Hartley’s time, this definition of information as a selection of symbols has been generally accepted, although widely interpreted. As a result, Hartley’s theory crystallized into an exact mathematical definition, provided by Shannon (1948). According to him, the probability p of event α is:

  • I = - log2 p(α) [2]

This approach is not useful in business decision-making. Let us assume, for example, that a message: “the distance from Kalamazoo to Chicago α =150 miles” has p=1 and therefore I = 0, since Log2 1 = 0 (because 20 = 1). In other words, from the quantitative perspective, this message contains no information. However, for the individual using his personal car for a business purpose, this message contains information that can be measured monetarily: if for each mile driven the individual receives compensation of $0.40, those 150 miles mean $60 in information value for him/her.

An increase in information yields a resultant reduction of chaos or entropy. Entropy, in statistical thermodynamics (Second Law), is a function of the probability of the states of the particles that form a gas. In the quantitative communication theory, entropy means how much information one must introduce into a given information-oriented system to make it informationally organized and at the same time reduce its chaos. The relationship between information and entropy is expressed most objectively by the Shannon-Weaver formula (1949):

  • H(α) = - Σ p(α) log2 (α) (BIT) (Binary digIT) [3]

In a descriptive thermodynamic sense, entropy is referred to as a “measure of disorder.” Information introduced to a given system eliminates that disorder and is therefore said to be “like” negative entropy or order. Starr (1971) demonstrates the idea of entropy using the following example: suppose that eight different commands can be transmitted from the bridge of a ship to the engine room. If each of those commands is equally likely, then the probability of any of these being sent is p=1/8. Knowing p, entropy H can be determined:

  • H = 8[1/8 log2 (1/8)] = log2 8 = 3 [4]

This result indicates that eight different orders coded into a binary format (as shown below) can be transmitted via a 3-bit-wide channel of communication:

The entropy function is widely used in communication networks in coding for the assessment of channel capacity and code efficiency. However, from the human communication point of view, this perspective has limited applications, because it does not provide any human-oriented meaning to the “bits and probabilities.” This approach has a technical significance concerning how to design a technical communication channel. Finally, the entropy function lacks the semantic meaning of information, which can drive human communication.

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Table of Contents
Acknowledgment
Andrew Targowski
Chapter 1
Andrew Targowski
The purpose of this study is to develop a comprehensive model of generic civilizations and world civilization, applying the cybernetic technique of... Sample PDF
The Civilization Grand Model
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Chapter 2
Andrew Targowski
The purpose of this study is to define the role of civilization’s critical powers in the civilization life cycle. The role of... Sample PDF
Civilization Life Cycle: Introduction
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Chapter 3
The Civilization Index  (pages 62-77)
Andrew Targowski
The purpose of this chapter is to define energy levels of civilizations, particularly in respect to a role of information-communication processes.... Sample PDF
The Civilization Index
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Chapter 4
Andrew Targowski
The purpose of this chapter is to evaluate a role of information-communication (INFOCO) processes in human development according to the following... Sample PDF
(A) Liberating the Future from the Past
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Chapter 5
Andrew Targowski
The purpose of this chapter is to define intrinsic values of information-communication processes in human development. The development of... Sample PDF
(B) Liberating the Past from the Future
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Chapter 6
Andrew Targowski
The purpose of this chapter is to investigate whether we humans are wise enough to save our civilization from threats of internal conflicts and... Sample PDF
Will Wisdom Save the Human Project?
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Chapter 7
Andrew Targowski
The purpose of this chapter is to define processes triggering the emergence of global civilization at the beginning of the 21st century. In... Sample PDF
From Global to Universal-Complementary Civilization
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Chapter 8
Andrew Targowski
The purpose of this chapter is to define information- based tools for the study of the human story in order to “informate” traditional historic... Sample PDF
Theory of Critical Total History of Civilization
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Chapter 9
Andrew Targowski
This chapter will attempt to analyze the cumulative evolution of labor, intellect (information & knowledge), and politics. In pursuit of this aim... Sample PDF
The Information Wave of Civilization
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Chapter 10
Andrew Targowski
The purpose of this chapter is to define information, mainly in terms of cognition units, and also to find out its other perspectives and images.... Sample PDF
Information and Organization
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Chapter 11
Andrew Targowski
The purpose of this chapter is to define a scope of service science and service automation in service economy based on ideal generic service systems... Sample PDF
Service Science and Automation Laws
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Chapter 12
Information Laws  (pages 277-288)
Andrew Targowski
The purpose of this chapter is to define information laws which control the development of the global and universal civilizations as well as... Sample PDF
Information Laws
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Chapter 13
Andrew Targowski
The purpose of this chapter is to define the architecture of information-communication systems which play key roles in the development of the... Sample PDF
The Electronic Global Village
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Chapter 14
Information Societies  (pages 311-343)
Andrew Targowski
The purpose of this chapter is to define the evolution and key indicators of the information society that is being triggered by the Information Wave... Sample PDF
Information Societies
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Chapter 15
Asymmetric Communication  (pages 345-362)
Andrew Targowski
This chapter defines a framework for the crosscultural communication process, including efficiency and cost. The framework provides some directions... Sample PDF
Asymmetric Communication
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Chapter 16
Andrew Targowski
The purpose of this chapter is to define the dynamics of the economic infrastructure, which supports any civilization and defines the modus operandi... Sample PDF
Civilization Market Integration
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Chapter 17
Andrew Targowski
The purpose of this chapter is the investigation whether human civilization has much of a future on the Earth. This investigation is partially based... Sample PDF
The Future of Civilization
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Chapter 18
Andrew Targowski
For years, the construction of the universe has occupied the best minds of theologians and scientists. The first modern breakthrough was made by... Sample PDF
The Information Architecture of the Universe
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About the Contributors