Creator of Knowledge
Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Constructionist Organizational Data Mining

Constructionist Organizational Data Mining
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Author(s): Isabel Ramos (Universidade do Minho, Portugal) and João Álvaro Carvalho (Universidade do Minho, Portugal)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 5
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch113


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Scientific or organizational knowledge creation has been addressed from different perspectives along the history of science and, in particular, of social sciences. The process is guided by the set of values, beliefs, and norms shared by the members of the community to which the creator of this knowledge belongs, that is, it is guided by the adopted paradigm (Lincoln & Guba, 2000). The adopted paradigm determines how the nature of the studied reality is understood, the criteria that will be used to assess the validity of the created knowledge, and the construction and selection of methods, techniques, and tools to structure and support the creation of knowledge. This set of ontological, epistemological, and methodological assumptions that characterize the paradigm one implicitly or explicitly uses to make sense of the surrounding reality is the cultural root of the intellectual enterprises. Those assumptions constrain the accomplishment of activities such as construction of theories, definition of inquiry strategies, interpretation of perceived phenomena, and dissemination of knowledge (Schwandt, 2000). Traditionally, social realities such as organizations have been assumed to have an objective nature. Assuming this viewpoint, the knowledge we possess about things, processes, or events that occur regularly under definite circumstances, should be an adequate representation of them. Knowledge is the result of a meticulous, quantitative, and objective study of the phenomenon of interest. Its aim is to understand the phenomenon in order to be able to anticipate its occurrence and to control it. Organizations can instead be understood as socially constructed realities. As such, they are subjective in nature since they do not exist apart from the organizational actors and other stakeholders. The stable patterns of action and interaction occurring internally and with the exterior of the organization are responsible for the impression of an objective existence. The adoption of information technology applications can reinforce or disrupt those patterns of action and interaction, thus becoming key elements in the social construction of organizational realities (Lilley, Lightfoot, & Amaral, 2004; Vaast & Walsham, 2005).

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