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Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

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Agenzia Nazionale di Valutazione del Sistema Universitario e della Ricerca: Classe A

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Volume 2013, Issue 195


Semiotics and Knowledge Management (KM): A theoretical and empirical approach

Larissa Sjarbaini / René J. Jorna
Published Online: 2013-06-07 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2013-0035


Knowledge Management (KM) concerns the study of knowledge in organizations. Knowledge sharing, use, storage, support, and knowledge creation are components of KM. The (short) history of KM shows that the theoretical foundations of KM require completion. In this article, a perspective on KM is discussed based on cognitive semiotics, which starts with humans as information processing systems. Knowledge is human-oriented. In order to formulate a conceptual framework for the determination and dynamics of knowledge with respect to humans, we modify the I-Space model as suggested by Boisot (1995) and replace it with the K-space model. Based on the cognitive semiotics view, the K-space model works with knowledge content and knowledge types (the way knowledge is (re)presented). Three knowledge types are discerned and discussed: sensory, encoded, and theoretical knowledge (based on various semiotic dimensions). With these knowledge types, “snapshots” of knowledge of individuals and organizations can be made and the dynamics of knowledge can be assessed. This article also contains an empirical study of planning support in a health care institution, bringing the model to a test. The results show an increase in the encoding of knowledge with respect to various sub-tasks of planning. We argue that KM definitely benefits from a cognitive semiotic infusion strengthening its theoretical foundation and leading to empirically corroborated results.

Keywords: knowledge types; planning; software support; cognitive semiotics; knowledge management; knowledge dynamics

About the article

Larissa Sjarbaini

Larissa Sjarbaini (b. 1968) is a research officer at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences 〈 〉. Her research interests include knowledge, innovation, ICT in (higher) education, and entrepreneurship.

René J. Jorna

René J. Jorna (b. 1953) is a professor at the University Of Groningen 〈 〉. His research interests include knowledge management, planning, multilingualism, and knowledge of sustainability. His publications include “Cognitive science and connectionism: Friend and enemy or move and counter-move, an application of empirical logic” (1993).

Published Online: 2013-06-07

Published in Print: 2013-06-06

Citation Information: Semiotica, Volume 2013, Issue 195, Pages 169–196, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2013-0035.

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©[2013] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston.Get Permission

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