Tools Extending Human and Organizational Cognition: Revolutionary Tools and Cognitive Revolutions
International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Vol. 6, pp. 1-10, 2006
14 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2011
Date Written: July 1, 2006
This work explores revolutions in human and organizational cognition that have resulted from new technologies and methods for managing the kinds of persistent knowledge that form Karl Popper's (1972) world 3. World 3 knowledge includes the logical contents of books, libraries, computer memories, etc. Persistent or "explicit" knowledge is a major blind spot for many of today's KM practitioners because of their reliance on a much narrower concept of knowledge derived from Michael Polanyi's works. This paper seeks to highlight and fill in that blind spot.
Knowledge workers using different cognitive tools often become so heatedly involved in irrational arguments about which tools are best, that bystanders call such discussions "holy wars". This is symptomatic of historically unprecedented cognitive and technological revolutions that fundamentally change how individuals and organizations interact with the world. To explain what is behind these holy wars, I weave together disparate themes, including epistemology, military affairs, the evolution and heredity of complex systems, and ideas regarding revolutions in human cognition to shed new light on the importance of knowledge in organizations.
Keywords: Karl Popper, Michael Polanyi, Epistemology, Organization Theory, Autopoiesis, Technological Revolution, Personal Knowledge, Organizational Knowledge, Evolution
JEL Classification: O30, O33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation