Leveraging Collective Wisdom to Impact Workplace Culture

Leveraging Collective Wisdom to Impact Workplace Culture

Jeff M. Allen, Amy Rosellini, Malak Khader, Millicent Njeri
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-4431-3.ch006
(Individual Chapters)
No Current Special Offers


Wisdom, both personal and collective, is largely missing in both information science and knowledge management literature. Workplace culture and shared vision impact every level of organizations in a positive or negative direction. A healthy culture and optimistic shared vision can provide a climate for knowledge sharing and provide opportunity for rich transfer of collective wisdom in our workplace communities. Wisdom is evolved from knowledge and can be cultivated by knowledge and learning specialists. This chapter places wisdom as the desired result of successful knowledge management and provides an opportunity for scholars, students, and practitioners to leverage this rich resource in organizations and extends the models, processes, and theories.
Chapter Preview


To understand wisdom, within the current context of our field, we need to review how wisdom is most often presented. In the field of information science, the DIKW hierarchy is used to characterize information organization and is often expressed as a hierarchical pyramid with data at the base and wisdom at the apex. The DIKW model, attributed by Ackoff (1989), prescribes a direct, and building relationship between data, information, knowledge, and wisdom.

“Data are a collection or set of facts (numbers, measurements, observations, or descriptions) that can be quantitative or qualitative in nature” (Allen, 2022, p. 119). Data is seldom useful for decision making, but it is raw material for decision making that needs to be processed and organized in a meaningful way to become information. As knowledge managers we must capture accurate data and transform data to information.

Data can transform to information when it is contextualized. “Information is structured data with attached meaning, connection, and significance” (Allen, 2022, p. 118). Information is learned from data and is sufficient to make decision making. As knowledge managers we ensure that the information is each to find, use, share and learn from to facilitate organizational knowledge.

Knowledge can be created from information when it is internalized by a person so that it can be put into practice (Davenport, 1998). As knowledge managers we are concerned with knowledge acquisition, knowledge curation and knowledge sharing of tacit, explicit, and embedded knowledge.

Wisdom can evolve from knowledge when an individual uses their knowledge, experience and understanding to identify patterns, make connections, and underlying principles to make sound judgements and wise decisions. As knowledge managers, we are challenged to move beyond knowledge acquisition and knowledge transfer to foster individual and collective wisdom that not only include the knowledge and experience but an understanding self and understanding others. This cultivates a benevolent implementation of knowledge solutions that produce a beneficial course of action for the individuals, workplace community, larger organization, and society.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Information: Structured data with attached meaning, connection, and significance

Optimism: An attitude that positivity will result from an attitude or an action.

Organizational: Culture: A set of shared values, beliefs, and assumptions that employees share about the organization.

Knowledge: The depth and breadth of information and skills acquired through interaction, participation, observation integrated with an individual’s comprehension of connected experiences.

Experience: The practice or the application of knowledge over a period of time.

Data: A collection or set of facts (numbers, measurements, observations, or descriptions) that can be quantitative or qualitative in nature

Connection: A key to building relationships between ourselves and others. Individuals must connect both to their colleagues and organizational purpose.

Collective: Wisdom: A shared understanding of wise behaviors that are collected and curated by an interconnected group to create a beneficial course of action for the group, communities, and society.

Community: A connected group of individuals with shared interest, values, and purpose.

Belongingness: A human need to give and receive support and security as an engaged member of a group.

Resilience: Our capacity to adapt and recover from difficult situations, adversity, or challenge.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: