Academic journal article Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline

Information Gatekeepers-Aren't We All?

Academic journal article Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline

Information Gatekeepers-Aren't We All?

Article excerpt

Introduction

Knowledge sharing amongst organization members constitutes an important discipline in information and knowledge management. An organization's information is found in forms, information pools, work processes and routines, in employees minds, and so on. The formal organizational structure and hierarchy do not necessarily reflect the information flow among the employees (McKenzie, 2005; Tushman & Katz, 1980). The organization must develop acute awareness as how to convey information among individuals and remove any barriers to its sharing, creating a routine of information sharing within the organization, on the one hand, and a routine of cultural systems that will cause information sharing to become an integral part of the day to day work culture, on the other hand (Allen, 1997; Rowley, 2003).

Information sharing does not relate only to internal organizational information. Individuals and groups who collect, filter, and distribute information relating to the environment outside the organization for use within the organization are extremely important (Klobas & McGill, 1995). These individuals are nicknamed "information gatekeepers".

The purpose of this study is to examine the manner in which the phenomenon of the human information gatekeepers is manifested in organizations with regard to the frequency and extent that it is manifested among employees. We wish to reveal if information gate keeping is characteristic only of a number of organization members or, perhaps, it is a continuous measurable characteristic that exists, in various degrees, in all members of organizations.

Literature Review

Background

Knowledge is defined as a mixture of continuous experiences, values, and information that provides an intellectual framework for information processing and for absorbing new information and experiences, or as information combined with such elements as interpretation, contexts, and reflections by means with which a decision or an action is come by (Davenport, De Long, & Beers, 1998).

Maceviciute and Wilson (2002) perceive information as a resource and as a consumer product. They emphasize the importance of acknowledging the need for information and for the development of abilities and methods for locating and developing information within the organization and, finally, to make intelligent use of the information.

In the course of their continuous activities, organizations constantly create new knowledge by converting and integrating personal concealed knowledge of individuals who develop ideas and creative approaches with common explicit knowledge that the organization possesses, thus creating insights, products, and innovations (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995).

Kari (2007) maintains that it is not enough to investigate and study the information collection processes alone, for information is not only collected for collection purposes per se. The importance of the process lays in the results that the information brings about. Kari ascribes great meaning to "information outcomes" and defines them as all that derives from the assimilation of a message or from the receipt of a message. Information outcomes may be physical or intellectual, a process or a final state, a result of the use of the information or outcomes of information influence.

Organizational Learning

In an era of speedy and continuous changes that constitute a fundamental essence of most organizations, Argyris and Schon (1978) contend that from a comprehensive perspective, organizational learning becomes a significant field that is particularly intended to improve the organizations' performance. In their opinion, the human factor plays a central and significant part in the complex of human interaction within the group. Indeed, Bouhnik, Giat, and Sanderovitch (2009) investigated the role of organizational learning in the creation of an expert community within the organization. …

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