Power and Virtual Organizations LO30053

From: Philip Keogh (Philip.Keogh@leedsth.nhs.uk)
Date: 04/04/03

Replying to LO30051 --

Hi At

Many thanks for your reply. You pose two questions...

>Here are two interesting questions.
>(1) Which paradigm does a LO follow -- the "information paradigm"
> or the "knowledge paradigm"?
>(2) Can you explain your choice above?

I am going to take the easy way out on this one and answer "BOTH".

Reason - There is never (now there is a bold statement) a clear dichotomy
between two alternatives. Things are never "black and white", "hot or
cold". There is usually a choice of the mid-ground - a compromise.

I can be very dangerous to limit oneself to binary choices. If faced with
a binary choice I will now ask "why are there only two choices?". Often
the reason for this is that the human mind likes to operate at a
simplistic level. It will reduce the number of options available. People
try to keep things simple subconsciously - it is the way we are trained.
Children are either good or bad for example.

HOWEVER - when we try to look at the big picture, and take in a wider
view, increase our choices - we get confused and can't handle the
data/information. But I am in no doubt that a more 'holistic' view is

So to answer question 1, I would refer you to Checkland's POM (Process of
Organisational Meaning) model. It, I feel - you may disagree, covers both
the information and the knowledge paradigm by not treating them as
opposites, but as choices that lie on a sliding scale and more importantly
- it deals with people.

I would be interested in hearing your "horror stories". Painting a picture
with words ensures that concepts (and meaning) are more successfully
transferred. I would guess that the academics who hold the "information
paradigm" may well perceive a world where their success is based on
information. They may even perceive information as knowledge, and vice
versa. There will also be academics "in the middle ground".

What then drives these people to take up a particular stance? We would all
agree, I think, that it is the environment they work in. If fame, fortune
and success is based on "publication and citation" rates then the system
may favour those that follow the information paradigm. Increasingly, our
society places value on information and so we have a dynamic that
strengthens the need for information. It reinforces itself to the
detriment of those in the "knowledge paradigm" (I am reminded here of the
system archetype "success to the successful").

Nothing however remains the same, and once people and organisations
realise (learn) that information is merely a attribute of something else
(knowledge), and that it is knowledge (people) they really want to deal in
- then the tipping point will be reached and we will see the change (for
the better I think!).

I hope the above remains coherent and I have passed on to you what I think
I mean and understand!


Philip Keogh
Pathology Information Officer
(see our website at www.leedsteachinghospitals.com)


"Philip Keogh" <Philip.Keogh@leedsth.nhs.uk>

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