The Adventure of Structuring Knowledge During Emergencies: Applying the Concepts “Knowledge Structuring” and “Knowledge Domination” on a Real-Life Work Situation

The Adventure of Structuring Knowledge During Emergencies: Applying the Concepts “Knowledge Structuring” and “Knowledge Domination” on a Real-Life Work Situation

Carina Beckerman (Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/jhdri.2011010102


This paper applies two concepts, ‘knowledge structuring’ and ‘knowledge domination,’ to a real life work situation. The purpose is to explore, analyze and discuss what happens when management interferes into the activities of a knowledge worker in a specific organizational setting by computerizing a key document. Exercising knowledge is delicate and complex. This study makes visible how some parts of performing anesthesia become structured and re-structured when the anesthesia patient record is transformed into a knowledge management system at the same time as someone or something influences how that structuring takes place.
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The Practice Of Managing Knowledge In The Knowledge Society

This research takes place in the knowledge society (Lane, 1966; Bell, 1974; Böhme & Stehr, 1986; Drucker, 1993; Castells, 1996; OECD, 1996). OECD has used the expression “the knowledge-based economies” instead of “the knowledge society” and characterized them as “those which are directly based on the production, distribution and use of knowledge and information”. One important difference between the two expressions “the information society” and “the knowledge society” is that the first one is characterized by low-cost information and a general use of information and communication technology while the key factor in the second is mainly investments in people, utilizing new information and communication technology. In the knowledge society there are a continuous structuring and re-structuring, construction and re-construction and learning and re-learning going on due to implementing new information and communication technology.

Knowledge is viewed as localized and embedded in a specialist practice. It is an ongoing social process of construction and collective action in organizations and a cognitive capability that empowers its possessors with the capacity for physical or intellectual action. Exercising knowledge is a structured activity. In our heads we always make plans for what to do, how to do it and what to do next. There is even a specific place in the frontal lobe of the brain that is vital for planning. When an organizational setting is structured the knowledge that is exercised in this setting also becomes structured. I propose that how knowledge is structured depends on who dominates over the knowledge exercised. Professional and specialist knowledge is a matter of both formal education based on scientific knowledge and skills (Abbott, 1988). A professional has the same education as others in the same field but there are better and less good professionals. The difference lies in their capacity to learn from their experience, of acquiring “tacit” knowledge. There is a tacit dimension to all knowledge. Tacit knowledge is learned through experiencing and doing a task, during which the individual develops a feel for and capacity to make intuitive judgments about the successful execution of the activity. Tacit knowledge consists, among other things, of search rules, or heuristics, that identify the problem and the elements consisting of the solution (Polanyi, 1966). They may also be compared to mental schemas or interpretative schemas.

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