Abstract This essay proposes a model for knowledge transformation within commercial organizations that deploy Knowledge Management Systems. The model is built on Aristotelian concepts of knowledge and replaces wisdom with action/decision as the highest level of knowledge transformation.
Knowledge Management (KM) is an enterprise initiative designed to capture, distribute, and share information within a commercial organization. KM is normally researched and discussed in practical terms – often the IT and computer resources necessary to implement it in an organization (company). Some practitioners and researchers have questioned whether an organization should first build a knowledge model and address the question “what is knowledge” before attempting to manage knowledge (Prusak, Mittelstrass).
Aristotle provides the perfect model for knowledge transformation within a company. His work in Metaphysics and Rhetoricdevelops empiricism, dialectic, and rhetoric as methods of knowledge creation. His philosophy towards audience leads to an acknowledgement of the role the audience plays in knowledge creation. His epistemological philosophy accommodates changes, which Platonic and earlier philosophies did not. Finally, his conceptual treatment of certainty is a perfect fit for the commercial environment where certainty ranges from definitive to probable (or less).
The essay uses grounded theory to develop a set of requirements for building a transformation model for KM that relies on Aristotelian philosophy. These requirements include usefulness, structure, reconciliation, user involvement, change, ethics, and truth. The essay then synthesizes a transformational model and posits it as viable model for understanding the creation of knowledge inside an organization.
The model examines three areas of influence on knowledge transformation: dimension, process, and criteria. Building upon work done by exploring the computational and consciousness levels of knowledge (Murray), the model builds computation, human, knowledge, and action dimensions that transform knowledge. The model shows a process for knowledge transformation where knowledge begins in the form of data and ends with action/decision. To move from one dimension to the next the model requires the satisfaction of criteria, which include accessibility, certainty, values, and ethics.
After synthesis the essay compares the model to the original requirements to determine congruency. Further research in the areas of action/decision, model reconciliation, and knowledge transfer into the organization’s KM system are suggested as a close.