One thought on “Organizational Memory: Model

  1. Most interesting here is the inclusion of “extra-organizational” process. By way of analogy to human memory and conceptions of self (e.g., Ulric Neisser), shared information is picked up by different individuals (organizations) for whom it affords different actions given idiosyncratic momentary capabilities. The “affordances” (i.e., knowledge) transform in this process.

    What is invariant then, and what is preserved across situations? Perhaps the answer is something ostensibly more abstract: the relation between knowledge and the capabilities to use it to effect change in the surroundings (the ecosystem) described in a way that transcends particular momentary capabilities. To be sure, this can become philosophically obtuse but it is, after all, how human perception and memory work (together). We don’t reconstruct stored memory, we continually remember experiences and re-experience them from our present perspective. When coupled with continual perception of the changing environment, we ground our knowledge in reality. We validate it.

    Organizations like individuals, however, are subject to all the “cognitive” biases of individuals. Our attention can be directed away from a full appreciation of everything in the environment that influences our capabilities to effect change in it. As with individuals, the best solution is collective intelligence in a diverse group (extended self). Different kinds of organizations, especially that cross the boundaries between industry verticals, yield a value network with capabilities for business intelligence and collective action that are far greater than the sum of the parts.

    The relation between BI and bundled offerings is the extra-organizational knowledge that is important to represent in an ontology for KM. It can be the most important kind of knowledge to preserve because it is the engine of innovation. But what is the it? It is collective intelligence, and relationships among a diversity of individuals are an essential attribute of collective intelligence. Relationships are dynamic, and their meaning (or essence) is revealed over time through collective action.

    The conclusion about an extra-organization process for KM is that it must address dynamic self-organization of groups across organizations based on a shared purpose and task-organization of such groups based on momentary exigencies that create a shared intensity of purpose. Elegant combinations of Role-Based Access Control and Attribute-Based Access Control (e.g., attribute-constrained RBAC) may be able to help us bring this kind of collective intelligence to a value network of organizations.


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