Towards a Knowledge Communication Perspective on Designing Artefacts Supporting Knowledge Work

Niclas Eberhagen

Abstract


The designing of computer-based artefacts to support knowledge work is far from a straightforward rational process. Characteristics of knowledge work have a bearing upon how developers (or designers), together with users, come to approach and capture the rich and tacit knowing of the practice. As all knowledge work is about the production of knowledge, transforming it, so is the design practice for developing artefacts to occupy space within that same practice. There is a need for providing a conceptual language to better reflect the nature of this design work that goes beyond those dressed in the managerial (or rational) language of planned activities and deliverables. Towards this end, a conceptual frame is presented that makes several important aspects of the design practice visible. The frame brings together both nature of design work and characteristics of knowledge work to extend the frame of knowledge in user-developer communication of Kensing and Munk-Madsen. Thereby, providing a means to focus attention and dress debate on what situated designing is. By using explicit concepts, such as types knowledge domains embedded in the design situation, the transitional paths between them, and design engagements, it arms practitioners with specific linguistic constructs to direct attention and efforts in planning and organizing development undertakings.
Purpose – the purpose of this work is to present and argue for a perspective on designing of computer-based artefacts supporting knowledge work. This is done to inform practitioners, directing their attention and dressing debate, and providing a conceptual language to better capture design activities in planning and organizing development undertakings.
Design/Methodology/Approach – The approach presented in this article is conceptual in so far that a model or frame providing linguistic constructs is constructed and argued, building upon scholarly work of knowledge communication and drawing upon previous findings from empirical encounters.
Findings – A conceptual frame is presented that captures the design situation as a situated knowledge communication process.
Research limitations/implications – The conceptual frame presented remains yet to be validated in practical application. This may be achieved either using it as a lens to uncover and explain phenomena in similar design work, thereby putting its explanatory power to the test, or using it to direct future development undertakings, thereby putting its predictive power to the test.
Practical implications – The practical implications of the design frame lies in its power to provide linguistic constructs to direct one’s effort in planning and organizing development undertakings, and in extension to provide argument for decision-makers allocating resources.
Originality/Value – By extending the model of knowledge communication of Kensing and Munk-Madsen, and framing it within a situated design context, it better reflects characteristics of knowledge work, providing practitioners with the means to better organize design activities.
Research type – conceptual.

Keywords


situated designing; knowledge work context; conceptual model; knowledge communication; computer-based artifacts

Full Text:

PDF

References


B. Al-Najjar, B.; Eberhagen, N. 2010. Dynamic and Cost-effective Maintenance Decisions. In Holmberg, K. E-maintenance. London: Springer, p. 345-390.

Argyris, C.; Schön, D. A. 1978. Organizational Learning: A Theory of Action Perspectives. Reading: Addison-Wesley.

Bødker, K.; Kensing, F.; Simonsen, J. 2004. Participatory IT Design: Designing for Business and Workplace Realities. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Brown, J. S.; Duguid, P. 1991. Organizational Learning and Communities of Practice: Towards a Unified View of Working, Learning and Innovation. Organization Science., 2(1): 40–57.

Brown, J. S.; Duguid, P. 1998. Organizing Knowledge. California Management Review., 40(3): 90–111.

Eberhagen, N. 2011. Understanding the Designing of Knowledge Work Support Tools as a Situated Practice., Linnaeus University Dissertations., No 70/2011. Växjö/Kalmar: Linnaeus University Press.

Eberhagen, N. 2014. On the Situated Nature of Designing Knowledge Work Supports Systems. In Johansson, B.; Andersson, B.; Holmberg N. Perspectives in Business Informatics Research., LNBIP 194. London: Springer, p. 30–44.

Kensing, F.; Munk-Madsen, A. 1993. PD: Structure in the Toolbox. Communications of the ACM., 36(4): 78–84.

Lave, J. 1991. Situating Learning in Communities of Practice. In Resnick, L. B., et al. Perspectives on Socially Shared Cognition. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.

Lave, J.; Wenger, E. 1991. Situated learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Newell, S., et al.2002. Managing Knowledge Work. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Nonaka, I. 1994. A Dynamic Theory of Organizational Knowledge Creation. Organization Science., 5(1): 14–37.

Nonaka, I.; Takeuchi, H. 1995. The Knowledge Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation. New York: Oxford University Press.

Orlikowski, W. J. 2002. Knowing in Practice: Enacting a Collective Capability in Distributed Organizing. Organization Science., 13(3): 249–273.

Orr, J.E. 1996. Talking about Machines: An Ethnography of a Modern Job. Ithaca, NY: ILR Press.

Pries-Heje, L.; Dittrich, Y. 2009. ERP Implementation as Design: Looking at Participatory Design for Means to Facilitate Knowledge Integration. Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems., 21(2): 27–58.

Scarbrough, H. 1999a. Knowledge as Work: Conflicts in the Management of Knowledge Workers. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management., 11(1): 5–17.

Scarbrough, H. 1999b. The Management of Knowledge Workers. In Currie, W.; Galliers, R. Rethinking Management Information Systems: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 474–496.

Schön, D. A. 1983. The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. New York: Basic Books.

Schön, D. A. 1992. Designing as Reflective Conversation With the Materials of a Design Situation. Knowledge-Based Systems., 5(1): 3–14.

Schultze, U. 2000. A Confessional Account of an Ethnography About Knowledge Work. MIS Quarterly., 24(1): 3–41.

Suchman, L. A. 2002. Located Accountabilities in Technology Production. Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems., 14(2): 91–105.

Suchman, L. A. 2007. Human-Machine Reconfigurations: Plans and Situated Actions., 2 ed. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.

Torraco, R. J. 1999. Integrating Learning With Working: A Reconception of the Role of Workplace Learning. Human Resource Development Quarterly., 10(3).

Tyre, M. J.; von Hippel, E. 1997. The Situated Nature of Adaptive Learning in Organizations. Organization Science., 8(1): 71–83.

Weick, K. E. 1993. Organizational Redesign as Improvisation. In Huber, G. P.; Glick, W. H. Organization Change and Re-design. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Wenger, E. 1998. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13165/ST-14-4-2-02

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




"Social Technologies" ISSN online 2029-7564