Complex Knowledge: Studies in Organizational Epistemology


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On the one hand the organization as an institutionalized system does produce regularities that can can be captured via propositional forms of knowledge. On the other, the organization as practice, as a lifeworld, or as an open-ended system produce stories, values, and shared traditions which can only be captured by narrative forms of knowledge. Secondly, Tsoukas looks at the issue of how individuals deal with the notion of complexity in organizations: Our inability to reduce the behaviour of complex organizations to their constituent parts.

Drawing on concepts such as discourse, narrativity, and reflexivity, he adopts a hermeneutical approach to the issue. Finally Tsoukas examines the concept of meta-knowledge, and how we know what we know. Arguing that the underlying representationalist epistemology of much of mainstream management causes many problems, he advocates adopting a more discursive approach. He describes what such an epistemology might be, and illustrates it with examples from organization studies and strategic management.

An ideal introduction to the thinking of a leading organizational theorist, this book will be essential reading for academics, researchers, and students of Knowledge Management, Organization Studies, Management Studies, Business Strategy, and Applied Epistemology. Social Epistemology in Epistemology. Social Epistemology, Misc in Epistemology. Edit this record.

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Tacit Knowledge Management. Rodrigo Ribeiro - - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 12 2 Richard P. Nielsen - - Journal of Business Ethics 3 Technology as Prospective Ontology. Arie Rip - - Synthese 3 - Wisdom in Organizations: Whence and Whither. Haridimos Tsoukas - - Emergence: Complexity and Organization 2 4 Nicolai J. Foss - - Oxford University Press. What would be involved, therefore, is not only the optimization of our processes of information on an immense amount of knowledge subordinated or excluded by hegemonic knowledge, but especially the reinforcement of genuine forms of information and self-narrative of those sectors and the incorporation of their worldviews and logics in the microphysics of digitality.

Declassification basically involves introducing pluralism in the core logic of classification. It is a metacognitive and non-automatic operation that, in each action of the classifier, requires a complete awareness of incompleteness, bias, and explicitable subjectivity. With current technology, it is possible to elaborate procedures and systems of classification based on declassification. But such techniques and tools will also have to undergo an epistemological revolution in all their protocols and strata. If, so as to think in a declassifying fashion, we need a fixed position from which to observe fixed objects, we would be classifying according to the conventional order of classification, paralyzing the world from a sclerotic perspective.

Declassification is a dynamic form of organization that, primarily, should satisfy a rationale of change: that of the organisable symbolic objects themselves, once the reduction of the traditional cognitive paralysis of the type of classification we normally practise has been overcome. The logic of change Hegel, underlying declassification must be understood in at least two universes, sometimes opposed and sometimes collaborative: firstly, we would conceive a change of a spontaneous and arbitrary nature, but nevertheless a change that, in some way, could be regarded as determinist, not for driving the world inexorably towards its destiny, but for finding the inexorable destiny of the world in the change itself.

We conceive this kind of change as a movement or spontaneous impulse. Secondly, we would have to understand the change from the perspective of the universe of will, a transformative universe. The change would therefore be governed by an articulated double path on movements and transformations. Movements generating new movements that interact, replace, and displace the meaning of some transformations that, to a minimum extent, but with the only authority that we know, the authority that the meaning confers on us, produce deviations and drifts in the movements. Classification would emerge as a spontaneous movement within the initial cognitive matrix, equipped from the start with a will of power, which orientates perceptions and pretentions of all possible meanings in the sole direction of the perceptions and pretentions of the will of power.

In fact, in spite of the atomization of power that springs from the Foucauldian conception Foucault, , power maintains its totality in a microcosm of daily manifestations. And one of its resources and manifestations is classification, a powerful and millennial classification protected by tradition, wisdom, knowledge, memory, identity, stability, religion, culture, science and our way of life, as is customarily said, all cooperating in pursuit of an identical and immutable classification that unceasingly divulges its structures.


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A classification conceived as the world's origin and destiny, always submissive and reinforcing the established order in spaces in which perhaps no order is necessary. In cultural practices, in which language and languages provide a basic dimension, essence, "is-ness", that is, ontological purification stemming from the verb to be, becomes a reference and priority resource for perceiving and transmitting the symbolic world.

In a diversity of manifestations, the concept "to be" exists in all known languages and cultures, allowing thinkers to talk about the attributes and properties of an object, of themselves or of a community, in the same way as rejecting them. Partitive or classematic conceptual relationships, distorted by metonymics, act as an automatic resource that clarifies a proposition, while at the same time dulling the rest.

Some proposals for epistemological advances in the study of organizational learning

The hierarchies of the whole over the parts, and of species over classes, organize the world. That same logic of hierarchization, whether it is prior or subsequent to the microstructures of power, organizes the relationships between subjects and objects, between objects and objects, and between subjects and subjects. When we allude, with automatism or innocence, to the parts of a house, a car, an institution, a city, a computer, or to the classes of any kind of object or subject, we are classifying the world in an essentialist fashion.

Explicitly or tacitly, the verb "to be" connects the part with its whole, the class with its species: the wheel is part of the car; the screen is part of the computer; the kitchen is part of the house; the house is a dwelling; sardines are fish; and the computer is technology.

Some proposals for epistemological advances in the study of organizational learning - Cogprints

Essentialist operations consist in organizing the world from a unicist and reductive logic. We call that rudimentary logic "classification" and it already impregnates the nuclear ordo of natural language itself. Declassification does not deny classification, because we never stop classifying, but involves the metacognitive assumption of a different, plural and non-essentialist logic. Declassification introduces logical pluralism, possible worlds, doubt and contradiction in propositions, justly providing an anti-dogmatic thought, a weak thought, one might say, invoking Vattimo pensiero debole.

Simple formulae, defying the principle of non-contradiction, as "a thing is also always another thing", introduce falibilism, perspectivism, logical pluralism in thought and classifying argumentation. What is more, the factual affirmation is would be even more mitigated by the counterfactual enunciation: "a thing could always be another thing". What decides a super-ordering or subordination is the situation, an enveloping and absorbing position blocking other alternatives and impeding the alternative of insubordination or conceptual non-subordination. It is possible to infer that, beyond the situation, relationships are submitted to infinite possible and arbitrary worlds as a criterion of ordering.

If as an example we take other functionalities of the instances alluded to in other situations of real possible worlds , in the modal logic of Lewis the knife could be a murder weapon, a keepsake or an antique; the dog could be a bothersome barker or a loyal companion; the holm oak could provide shade or also be an unknown tree; the computer could also be polluting waste; the sardine could be healthy or not. Something out of context is always and simultaneously multiple things.

welnenanfeute.tk Infinite conceptions lie in wait for instances, shaping and reshaping propositions. And to confirm several propositions simultaneously is not contradictory; it is simply a declaration of uncertainty. Therefore, an instance is not only, it is also. By means of the explanation "it is also", let us see how declassification surprisingly interrupts conceptual hierarchies, cancelling the privilege of any classifying vision: the knife is also a piece of cutlery; the dog is also a mammal; the holm oak is also a tree. Those instances "they are also", that is to say, the supra-ordering criterion established by custom, discourse or culture, become dishonoured, degraded, by infinite pragmatic worlds ready to take their place.

To state that any instance is also, implies dismissing tradition or imposition from whose perspective the concept has been seen and considered, as well as its supra-ordering and subordinate elements, and transferring declassifying pluralism to the core itself of conceptual refounding which democratic thought requires. To state simultaneously several propositions is not contradictory, since it is rather a declaration of uncertainty. There is no criticism of its contradictory nature.

We can also state several opposing propositions and, however, we would still be saying something. We would always be saying something and, if we calculate the contradiction, we would certainly be saying something tremendously different and creative. Declassification would be a way of guaranteeing equal opportunities for the diversity of knowledge, logics and conversations in a digitality-other.

Declassifying operators in classification systems 2. In this section, which is more applied to and focused on sectors working with events and stories in the media, political, social and cultural worlds, genres that move from and between journalism and history, I am going to describe two types of operators that, hypothetically, would help to break with unilateral and homogenizing schemas of dependence, whose presence is massive and disturbing. In any case, what is involved is a theoretical proposal of operators that, in a declassifying fashion, organize worlds spanned by constructions of history and memory, many fields of humanities and sciences or media discourses.

Such theoretical operators would have to be incorporated either by forcing or replacing and eliminating the hierarchical or reductive functions of the traditional operators of classifications, thesauri and ontologies. What is understood here as an operator is a logical-semantic tool and, it should not be forgotten, of a necessarily ethical and political nature , whose primordial function involves establishing relationships betweens registers and serving as a link between these and the participants in a network.

For instance, the hierarchical tools BT, NT and associative RT, belonging to conventional thesauri, are operators of organization that satisfy precise, unequivocal and symmetric epistemological criteria. The basic difference of this type of closed and univalent operators, with respect to my proposal, lies in the logics on which they are based. Declassifying operators are precisely resources of intervention and facilitation whose aim is to guarantee decolonizing thought and the equal flow of information systems, but also to warn citizens about those registers that contravene interculturally established decisions and agreements, such as human rights, to question certain presences by means of the legitimate criticism of producers-mediators and users-mediators, and to promote a social transformation keyed to emancipation and plurality of knowledge.

On being open, the logic of the operators proposed here includes the closed logic of the traditional relational operators BT, NT, and RT, or any other one, and as a result it does not oppose them provided that they contain the principles of declassification. In accordance with the postulates established by the theoretical considerations put forward in the previous sections, the declassification of KO systems in the aforementioned sectors could have an anti-dogmatic, hermeneutic and decolonizing operator, that is, based on the imperative of the direct democratic participation of all the possible positions and worlds that need it - including all the oppositions and contradictions regarding a conception - built in a plural fashion so as to ensure the presence of all the worldviews and propitiate the differences even of those positions regarded as unjust or anti-democratic.

Under the priority of ideological and logical pluralism, but also facilitating part of that established in the principles of interaction and transformation that orientate the promotion of social change, I propose complex operator. Such an operator would be essential, for instance, in conceptual maps in which appear complex notions like terrorism, veil, "illegal" people or abortion, to mention only some of the most controversial ones. Operator would guarantee all the ideological interpretations and equal opportunities of those concepts.


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The complex operator is not designed to intervene in or control visions and meanings as regards an issue. Furthermore, an anti-relativist and critical operator would act in a compensatory fashion, that is, it would side against injustices and inequalities established in the exomemory, intervene in the conflicts of interest between local positions and interideological agreements, establish conditions for dialogue keyed to consensus, and apply the results of the latter.

Transcultural operator V would be responsible for those functions. Let us look at several clarifying issues touching on the shared and different aspects in both operators, operators that do not oppose each other, but intersect, supervise and complement each other. Complex operator , whose most notable function would be to detect confrontations, contradictions, oppositions, dichotomies and antonymies in pursuit of their coexistence, includes all the possible meanings of an issue or the meaning of unshared issues, specifying them so that all participations or searches in the network are recognized by the shared subjectivities of a community or culture or by individual subjectivities.

It is therefore an operator closer to de facto multiculturalism, to an initial copresence of positions in equal conditions and with the same chance of visibility. With regard to transcultural operator V, it is the synthetic product of a permanently open, democratic dialogue between representations of diverse positions political, cultural, discursive, etc.

Therefore, this operator V implies the reaching of an agreement with respect to an issue and its formalization as a category transversal to the positions as a transcategory, constituting, from such a sanction, an ethical world norm that could interfere in the local registers that infringe it, not invalidating or censoring them, since they would always enjoy the protection offered by the complex operator, but warning the participating citizens about their content.

Both operators are profoundly democratic, since when is supported by the specification of all the positions and worldviews, without exclusion, as itineraries of representation and localization of the registers, that is, guaranteeing the representativeness on an equal footing of all the initial positions with respect to an issue, V is essentially regulative and executive, that is, it balances the possible unjust treatment of some or other position in the network, even respecting the presence of such registers accommodating the prior principle of emancipation, in terms of a transculturally accepted categorical scale in such a way that abuses in the network do not go unpunished if the transcultural community can avoid it with alerts, warnings and recriminations.

As a result, the transcultural operator is as fully democratic as the complex operator, since its application would only be authorized by democratic decision transcultural synthesis endorsed by the majority of the positions, a consensus that can be widened and must be revised periodically.

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While the transcultural operator is the antidote to the relativism of which the complex operator could be accused, which does not determine the moral or cultural merits of a register, concept or position, the complex operator likewise involves the democratic and hermeneutic balance of a transcultural operator accused of a lack of support or sufficient legitimization. If the complex operator leads all the positions and perspectives to mutual friction from which emerge third itineraries, spontaneous and deliberate new connivances, the transcultural operator is substance of a dialogical rationality in pursuit of convergence.

The complete visibility of the democratic function of this operator only appears at the system level, and not in each particular register. Traditionally, KO has centred one of its main lines of research and development on the construction of languages and systems that, from homogenizing or highly biased perspectives, commonly represent discursive content and forms independently of cultural variables and the full conglomerate of sensibilities and singularities that operates both in the conformation of those complex, simplistically represented worlds, and in the access, appropriation and continuity of those representations.

Therefore, operator would disrupt the logic and appearance of conventional classification systems and languages. As to transcultural operator V, even performing at the systemic level as well, its complete realization is only achieved when it is specifically assigned to a register affecting the provided analytic description by means of other resources used by the position and local interest.

Complex Knowledge: Studies in Organizational Epistemology Complex Knowledge: Studies in Organizational Epistemology
Complex Knowledge: Studies in Organizational Epistemology Complex Knowledge: Studies in Organizational Epistemology
Complex Knowledge: Studies in Organizational Epistemology Complex Knowledge: Studies in Organizational Epistemology
Complex Knowledge: Studies in Organizational Epistemology Complex Knowledge: Studies in Organizational Epistemology
Complex Knowledge: Studies in Organizational Epistemology Complex Knowledge: Studies in Organizational Epistemology
Complex Knowledge: Studies in Organizational Epistemology Complex Knowledge: Studies in Organizational Epistemology
Complex Knowledge: Studies in Organizational Epistemology Complex Knowledge: Studies in Organizational Epistemology
Complex Knowledge: Studies in Organizational Epistemology Complex Knowledge: Studies in Organizational Epistemology

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