Knowledge Access and Internal Facing Social Computing


I came across a post by Andrew McAfee (more about this later) where is he referring to a paper by F. A. Hayek, about The Use of Knowledge in Society. Among other things, F. A. Hayek mentions (and I think I would be writing more about this going forward, but at the moment …):

It will at once be evident that on this point the position will be different with respect to different kinds of knowledge; and the answer to our question will therefore largely turn on the relative importance of the different kinds of knowledge; those more likely to be at the disposal of particular individuals and those which we should with greater confidence expect to find in the possession of an authority made up of suitably chosen experts. If it is today so widely assumed that the latter will be in a better position, this is because one kind of knowledge, namely, scientific knowledge, occupies now so prominent a place in public imagination that we tend to forget that it is not the only kind that is relevant.

This shows an understanding which we are working towards today, i.e., its not just the elite few who know everything … That people at all levels in an organization carry a certain kind of knowledge which is useful for them to perform their work.

He also goes on to say:

How much knowledge does he need to do so successfully? Which of the events which happen beyond the horizon of his immediate knowledge are of relevance to his immediate decision, and how much of them need he know?

Now, this is a question that has been obviated by the developments in technology we have witnessed, with electronic databases, and the internet technology, the question of how much the “man on the spot” needs to know is not relevant, because unlike the time when this paper was written, the costs of getting the information the information to the person who needs it have reduced to a considerable extent. Which means, as Andrew McAfee says, in his post The Great Decoupling, organizations today need not constrain themselves in the way they design the processes which influence decision making.

An important point that Andrew makes is of the internal blogosphere. This is an issue I have written about earlier, and my thoughts on this are the this is where the real power of social computing lies …

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