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The Wisdom of Collaborative Network Organizations: Capturing the Value of Networked Individuals
William H. Dutton
Digital networks, particularly the Internet, are used widely to search for information and to share expertise and knowledge between peers. Such collaborative problem solving and co‐creation of services and products go beyond traditional organizational boundaries and geographical constraints, raising major questions about how to manage networked individuals and capture the value of their activities. This paper conveys the findings of a series of case studies designed to explore these questions. This led to a framework for categorizing the networks which suggests the management and performance of ‘collaborative network organizations’ will be contingent on the ways in which they are used to reconfigure information and communication flows for the distributed sharing, generation or co‐creation of content.
How Institutional Incentives and Constraints Affect the Progress of Science
Arthur M. Diamond Jr
Scholars studying science policy have long wondered how the progress of science is affected by scientists’ motives, and by the incentives and constraints that scientific institutions create. This paper aims to answer two objections to the soundness and applicability of the ‘economics of science’ that arise from such issues. I argue that the progress of science can occur even if scientists exhibit a wide range of motives; but that the pace of scientific progress will depend, in part, on the incentives and constraints provided by scientific institutions. I also discuss the implications of path dependence for the epistemological status of science.
Rethinking Michael Polanyi’s Realism: From Personal Knowledge to Intersubjectively Viable Communication
Fifty years after the publication of Michael Polanyi’s magnum opus, Personal Knowledge, the fashion for Knowledge Management (KM) has helped to institutionalise a redefinition of his distinction between tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge. But KM’s redefinition of Polanyi’s argument misrepresents his insights into the process of personal tacit ‘knowing’ and overlooks the implications of his faith in metaphysical ‘being’. This paper explores the significance of Polanyi’s original concept of tacit knowledge, together with the consequences of assuming a ‘vertical’ connection between personal knowledge and faith in an unknowable absolute truth. By using faith to protect personal knowledge from the charge of subjectivism, Polanyi precluded the possibility that different people, who interact in different contexts and believe in different things, could develop viable modes of knowing and learning. However, rethinking Polanyi’s philosophy with regard to Ernst von Glasersfeld’s radical constructivism, which is derived from intersubjectively viable ‘horizontal’ communication, allows the virtues of tacit knowledge to be separated from the complications of metaphysical realism.
Making Bronco Ropes
In the 1890s and early 1900s H. Compton Trew developed the bronco method of handling cattle for branding and other treatment. His innovation led to new words in the Australian lexicon, alterations in harness and stockyard design, the construction of special ‘bronco panels’, and the adoption of twisted greenhide ropes which largely replaced the plaited ropes that had previously been used. Production of a first‐class bronco rope required considerable skill. Their manufacture became a source of pride amongst outback cattlemen and they developed many variations in the treatment of the raw material, the way it was prepared, and the techniques used.