Conceptual Levels of Information Processing and Information Interpretation in Knowledge Management

Conceptual Levels of Information Processing and Information Interpretation in Knowledge Management

Murako Saito (Waseda University, Japan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-284-8.ch006
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In managing knowledge, conceptual confusion on information arises frequently among researchers in different disciplines. The term of information is defined at least into four: data, information, knowledge, and wisdom. Procedural ways of information are different among disciplines even when the definition is similar. Interpretation of information varies in accordance with its meaning or its value for the receivers. Most of the misalignment in the field stems from different interpretations and the different procedural ways of the information presented. In this chapter, first, information processing levels in knowledge management and second, three levels in cognition-action reflective process are described. Thirdly, information interpretation in internal world, and finally juxtaposition of scientific and interpretive perspectives are discussed for developing organizational learning and organizational resilience and for building common ground for productive and constructive dialogue between and within disciplinary fields.
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Information Processing Levels In Knowledge Management

In managing knowledge, conceptual confusion on information arises when we collaborate with researchers in different disciplines. The term of information has been defined into four meanings, data, capta, information and knowledge (Checkland and Holwell, 1998). Conceptual levels of information in the author’s classification which is shown in Figure 1 are 1) information as data in physical and reaction level or in operational management level, 2) perceptual information in response-behavior level or in strategic management level, 3) knowledge in cognitive-action level or normative management level, and 4) wisdom in integrated and acculturated action level in the long span, which leads people to realize their healthy and purposeful lives and to accelerate global health. In the upper two levels of wisdom and knowledge, information processing is dealt with consciously by point-to-point liner processing, while in the lower two levels, routine work as a daily duty is dealt without profound consideration on each work. Most workers treat routine work unconsciously by treating them as parallel distribution processing; moreover, they behave as they are trained. The concepts which define meanings of information in every level are to be shared among different disciplinary workers in developing collaboration work. Organizational learning comprises all the levels of information from accumulating data and mining data in perceptual levels, to modifying or interpreting information in cognitive and integrated action levels, and continues to run through all the levels for confirming that the information acquired gives some meaningful ideas and value to the organization, why and how the meaningful ideas are to be implemented.

Figure 1.

Conceptual levels of data, information, knowledge and wisdom which are featured by human cognition-action coupling


For instance, clinical path (CP) which is frequently applied as one of the effective tools in the healthcare sector is generally designed for clinicians to do their job in considering clients’ needs in providing efficient care. Few cases in CP are designed by comprising information in all its levels, by considering patients’ and their family’s needs and values, especially in the cases of aged patients. The CP is to be designed by considering a value chain of the clients’ lives including all the process of internal and external organizational learning. Knowledge enables us to acquire the information we require, but you have to decide for yourself whether the information is in fact informative to you or not, before taking action. It is very important that information resource management leads to the creation of knowledge and integration of knowledge, which is inevitably dependent upon the degree of your understanding and interpretation of the information you have acquired.

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