A Paper Outline
Information and Knowledge: Definitions and Practices in
Dr. Jay Weinroth
The use of information technology in business management is described under
different management practices, am
ong which are information management and
knowledge management. Knowledge management is the relatively newer concept
that is attracting more attention. Several questions accompany the emergence of this
new business management practice. Is there a genuine
theoretical difference between
knowledge management and information management? Is it the realization of this
distinction that is guiding the selection and application of one practice over the other
in business? Are the different implementations exhibit
ing characteristics that reflect
the theoretical difference?
Discrimination between information and knowledge dictates a difference in the
construction of IT setups that support the management of information, knowledge or
both. Understanding the aspects
of information and knowledge and their relation
together is a prerequisite for successful attempts of automizing their management.
The issues that need to be understood and compared relate to the creation, capture,
storage, retrieval and communication of
information and knowledge. When taking an
automation initiative, a firm should be aware of:
The subject of management
information, knowledge or both.
The types of technologies that suit information operations and those that
suit knowledge operations.
e capability of the technologies in delivering the anticipated
Figure 1 shows how firms could be classified according to their needs for
information and knowledge. IT exploitation in management should be attractive to
the two types of firms on
the right side of the diagram. The upper type should seek IT
enabled information management, while the lower needs IT enabled knowledge
Low Information Demand
High Information Demand
Low Knowledge Demand
High Knowledge Demand
The classification of firms according to their intellectual capital
A firm’s realization of the types of its intellectual resources is important for the
sake of making the right inves
tment, and later on for conducting a meaningful
assessment of the investment. Figure 2 illustrates the intersection of the types of
firms’ intellectual resources and the possible automation initiatives:
Information Based Firm
Information and Knowledge
(Loss in wasted investment)
Information and Knowledge
(Loss in extra cost)
The match between a firm’s capital resource and
an automation initiative
The right match between the intended subject of management and the
appropriate technologies is only the preliminary step. Many technical details that need
to be taken care of according to the processes of conducting business are no
THE QUESTIONS AND THE HYPOTHESES
The questions for this research is:
How knowledge differs from information?
Is the difference reflected in IT
enabled knowledge management
The hypotheses are:
enabled knowledge management i
s fundamentally different from IT
enabled information management.
There is confusion in the business practices and application of the two
This research is based on the realization that information and knowledge ar
among the resources of contemporary firms. Different sectors of business require
different levels of these two resources. Figure 1 shows the two types of firms that are
concerned about IT
enabling their intellectual resources. We shall call the upper
type as type A with information management as the type’s manipulated variable. The
type in the lower right would be type B with knowledge management as its
manipulated variable. In both cases competitive advantage is the dependent variable.
ange of variation for each manipulated variable depends on many factors
such as the right technology and savvy human administration. This research is not
intended to measure the effect of manipulation of the variables on the output variable.
research is investigating the existence of awareness of the difference
between the two types of intellectual resources: information and knowledge that
should guide the way IT is exploited in managing business.
I intend to survey credible re
sources in different disciplines related to knowledge
and information. Such disciplines would be sociology, psychology, philosophy, and
information systems. I shall be looking for an understanding of the human’s
processes in the creation, retention and u
se of information and knowledge.
I shall also investigate cases of knowledge management initiative to recognize
the main human knowledge processes that such initiatives are trying to address. This
investigation should shed more light on the different IT
requirements that An
assessment of the degree of facilitation that current IT is offering for human
knowledge management shall be attempted.
Instead of looking at the different point of views and outlining the trends for
ion and knowledge, I shall attempt to recognize definitions that
describe a whole structure of characteristics that adequately explain the processes of
information and knowledge.
If an intrinsic difference between information and knowledge was recognize
the investigation of knowledge management projects cases is intended for the sake of:
Recognizing common factors among successful projects of KM.
Recognizing common factors among failed projects of KM
Recognizing the capability of IT in implementing or
aspects of knowledge that were distinguished from those of
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