Knowledge Creation in Inquiring Organizations using KDD: Re-Focusing Research on the Analyst

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Inquiring Organizations: Moving from Knowledge Management to Wisdom






Churchman (1971) emphasized the continual learning nature of organizations as part of their ontological fabric. Accordingly, he proffered the view of organizations as inquiring systems whose actions result in the creation of knowledge. To this end, many modern organizations have attempted to create knowledge by using technologies, such as Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery in Databases (KDD). Although quite powerful, these technologies depend heavily upon the skill and insights of the analyst. We propose that the role of the analyst in the application of these technologies is poorly understood. To advance our understanding in this regard, we dedicate the first part of this chapter to describing the KDD process and relate it to the five philosophical perspectives of organizational knowledge acquisition, as originally discussed by Churchman (1971). In the second part of the chapter, we draw parallels between the process of knowledge acquisition via KDD with the concept of information foraging (Pirolli & Card, 1999). Information foraging theory is offered as a research lens through which we can investigate the role of human judgment in KDD. These insights lead us to propose a number of areas for possible future research. Based on our insights into information foraging and knowledge creation, the chapter concludes by introducing a new organizational metaphor into corporate epistemology: inquiring organizations as knowledge foragers.