Knowledge and Learning (and a little more)

This is my last blog post that is on articles I have read! I can’t believe the semester is almost over! Anyway, let’s get this started.

Knowledge is not static. As Stock (2011) says, “Knowledge changes – old wisdom loses its meaning and new discoveries are made of developed further” (Stock, 2011, p. 965).  The knowledge we possess changes over time, as individuals and as part of organizations. We encounter new information and, if we deem it important to us, we incorporate it into our knowledge base, which may end in letting go of previous knowledge that does not jive with our new knowledge Although, sometimes we will find ways to hold two opposite pieces of knowledge at the same time. I am not completely sure that all knowledge changes; there are some parts of knowledge that do not change. However, there are so many new inventions and ideas created every day and as such, it is important to always be in a state of learning. “For every single member of a knowledge society, a lifetime of learning thus becomes essential” (Stock, 2011, p. 965).  Knowledge management, in a sense, is about learning.  In the article on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (see previous blog post), knowledge management was used to learn from one hurricane so that the next one would not be as big a disaster.  This is probably stretching it a bit, but learning is an important part of knowledge management.

 “Knowledge management analyzes and organizes the dissemination and sharing of information inside the community and the import of explicit knowledge from the entire world into the city” (Stock, 2011, p. 982). One way to share information is through stories. Tremblay (1995) suggests that the enjoyment we get from stories came before modern media and will probably survive long after interactive multimedia technology. Stories help us communicate with each other in a way that we typically relate to the most. While stories can be shared online in non-face-to-face interactions, it is face-to-face interactions that  “Face-to-face interaction diminishes the likelihood of lying, helps to build shared values among a work team, and puts performance on display which diminishes motivation for loafing and free riding” (Goggins and Mascaro, 2013, p. 116)

As this is my last post, I wanted to revisit quickly explicit and tacit knowledge. We started off this semester learning about tacit knowledge through Polanyi (has it really been that long ago?) and this is something that has come up time and time again. According to Stock, “Explicit knowledge is knowledge that can be fixed in documents and transmitted straightforwardly, in fixed form, via ICT… [And] implicit (or ‘tacit’) knowledge is necessarily tied to the knowing individual” (Stock, 2011, p. 972). I now see tacitness everywhere these days. For example, I’ve been binge watching num3rs on Netflix lately and at the end of one episode, three characters are playing a videogame and each one is trying to tell the one originally playing how to play the game. However, the only way they could think to explain it was through playing the game themselves. I probably did not describe this very well but this was a form of tacit knowledge because it could not be described easily.

Goggins, S. P., & Mascaro, C. (2013). Context matters: The experience of physical, informational, and cultural distance in a rural IT firm. The Information Society, 29, 113-127.

Stock, W. G. (2011). Informational cities: Analysis and construction of cities in the knowledge society. Journal of the American Society of Information Science and Technology, 62(5), 963-986.

Tremblay, G. (1995). The information society: From Fordism to Gatesism. Canadian Journal of Communication, 20(4), 461-482

3 thoughts on “Knowledge and Learning (and a little more)

    • Much of the literature does tend to lean towards that perspective, though it rarely openly addresses it in exact terms. I’d certainly appreciate some more direct work regarding narrative epistemology were I to take the course over.


  1. I think of “unlearning” like breaking bad habits; you know it’s a bad habit, and you know you shouldn’t do it, but you’ve done it that way for so long it’s really, really hard not to.

    As for seeing tacit and explicit everywhere now: so do I! There’s so many things now where I see the concepts we’ve learned about, such as learning by doing and sharing through stories, but the biggest one has to be the tacit/explicit divide. Little comments like “can you send me a screenshot of what you’re seeing?” or “I’ve got it up, can you stop by my desk to take a look?” are examples of coworkers trying to express tacit knowledge. And they come out more often when we see those confused looks on other’s faces.


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