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IBM Cambridge Research Center

  Technical Report: Social Construction of Knowledge and Authority in Business Communities and Organizations

Social Construction of Knowledge and Authority in Business Communities and Organizations

Technical Report #:01-03
Author(s): Michael J. Muller, David R. Millen
Category(s):knowledge management, organizations, social construction, expertise, authority, community, grounded theory
Full Citation:First presented at HCIC 2000, February 2000, Winter Park CO USA. Revised version is accepted as a workshop position paper at ECSCW 2001.

Abstract

A Collaborative User Experience Technical Report: more about CUE...

Interviews were conducted with executives from twenty corporations regarding knowledge management needs. This paper used selected
concepts from grounded theory, to analyze the interview reports as secondary sources. Four models were derived, describing how knowledge is originated, refined, authored, and authorized in business organizations. Crucial roles in these models include gatekeepers, knowledge-originators, knowledge users, and (most importantly) an emerging knowledge/authority staff whose responsibility is, in part, to define knowledge for others' origination and use. These models were contrasted with three previously published models derived from more academic or non-hierarchical community structures. The paper also describes three models of how knowledge, once defined, is distributed in business organizations. The paper concludes with a critique of its own method.


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