Information Seeking: An Organizational Dilemma

By J. David Johnson | Go to book overview

SIX
STRATEGIES FOR SEEKERS (AND NONSEEKERS)

Yet it seems that information-seeking must be one of our most fundamental methods for coping with our environment. The strategies we learn to use in gathering information may turn out to be far more important in the long run than specific pieces of knowledge we may pick up in our formal education and then soon forget as we go about wrestling with our day-to-day problems. ( Donohew, Tipton, & Haney, 1978, p. 389)

Those who do not become learners again, regardless of age or rank, will find themselves at an increasing disadvantage as the information economy takes root. ( Marchand & Horton, 1986, p. 21)

As we have seen, information seeking in organizations is a complex phenomenon and there are many barriers to it that seekers must overcome. Individuals are faced with three fundamental information-seeking problems: (1) they have more choices; (2) they have more sources of information regarding these choices; and (3) more information is targeted at influencing their behavior. ( Marchionini, 1992).

The previous chapters have been devoted to understanding information seeking. In this and the following chapter, we turn to strategies that might be employed by seekers and by management to facilitate and enhance information seeking. Before we turn to that task, a summary of some common findings in the information-seeking literature is in order, since they can serve as useful benchmarks for evaluating the comprehensiveness and efficacy of any strategies we recommend.

First, people seek out information that is the most accessible. Accessibility may be the most critical issue in designing information systems. What is most surprising is how little it takes for a source to be deemed inaccessible. Similarly, and somewhat disconcertingly, accessibility overrides such issues as the

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Information Seeking: An Organizational Dilemma
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures and Tables ix
  • Preface xi
  • One Introduction and Overview 1
  • Two Hierarchies, Networks, and Markets 11
  • Three Information Fields 33
  • Summing Up 43
  • Four Information Carriers: A Focus on Channel Selection and Usage 45
  • Conclusion 65
  • Five Barriers to Information Seeking or the Benefits of Ignorance 69
  • Summary 96
  • Six Strategies for Seekers (and Nonseekers) 99
  • Summary 112
  • Seven Strategies for Managers 113
  • Summary 131
  • Bibliography 151
  • Index 177
  • About the Author 181
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