Survey of Good and Bad Knowledge Behaviors

Kent State University is conducting a survey of knowledge science professionals and practitioners to create a research corpus of good and bad knowledge behaviors. The study is being conducted by Dr. Denise A. D. Bedford, Goodyear Professor of Knowledge Management and Dr. Heather Pfeiffer, .

A fundamental assumption is that “good knowledge behaviors” contribute to positive knowledge transactions and moments, and add to the stock of intellectual capital for the 21st century knowledge economy. Similarly, “bad knowledge behaviors” deplete the stock of intellectual capital and present impediments to the creation, exchange, and mobilization of intellectual capital. Knowledge societies and knowledge economies thrive in environments where communication is open, collaboration and sharing are encouraged, where leadership rather than control is the norm, where innovation and ideas flow, and where everyone is valued for their contributions and their potential. Knowledge societies and economies thrive on these intangible assets. Industrial societies and industrial economies have traditionally been more focused on creation, ownership, access to and the scarcity of tangible property.

The goal of this survey is to provide a persistent collection point for stories of good and bad knowledge behaviors. We each have opinions of what a “good behavior” and a “bad behavior” might be based on our experience. The survey does not impose definitions of “good” or “bad” but asks you to share experiences based on your characterization. As a profession, we do not yet have a collective sense of what might fall into each category, and what the gradations of “good” and “bad” might be. The goal of this long term research project is to create a research foundation from which we can begin open discussions within the knowledge sciences discipline.

We seek examples that are drawn either from personal experiences or from observed behaviors. All contributed stories must be anonymously submitted, and the story must not contain any personally or organizationally identifiable information. Before including any story in the research corpus, it will be semantically scanned for identifying information.

This research began in 2013 as a Happy Hour event hosted by Drs. Denise Bedford and Heather Pfeiffer. The event was co-sponsored by the American Society for Information Science and Technology Annual Meeting and the International Conference on Knowledge Management. The event was very well attended by close to 100 individuals. This was a novel approach to programming and research data collection – in order to participate each attendee had to anonymously share a good and bad behavior example. The research was continued at the KM World Conference, held in Washington DC the following week. At KM World, an audience of 200 individuals contributed their thoughts at an open program. In both instances, examples were anonymously written on 3x5 cards, and collected by the program hosts.

To date, stories shared with the research team reflect the negative tendencies that we find reported in the professional literature (Carabelli and De Vecchi 1999) (Costa and Kallick 2000) (DeLong 1997)(Kerr 1994) (Serrat 2012) (Siemsen Roth and Balasubramanian 2007). The data also describe good experiences that may be used as good practices. Contributed examples describe experiences that range from ethical and moral violations, to what might be considered misdemeanors, felonies and major crimes against knowledge.

Codes of behavior are central to our culture – at the individual, organization, community and national level. Codes of behavior undergird the value assumptions of our economic systems. Today, our legal codes are designed to protect property – primarily tangible property. While there is some coverage and attention to intellectual property in our ethical and legal codes, it typically focuses on encoded or instantiated information (Alfino and Piece 1997) (Buchanan 1999) (Capurro 2006) (Ess 2006) (Fallis 2007) (Floridi 2002) (Froehlich 2004) (Koehler and Pemberton 2000) (Mason Mason and Culnan 1995) (Mathiesen 2012) (Smith 1997). The premise of this research project is that a new and different kind of Code is necessary - one that addresses the dynamic nature of knowledge, and the economic characteristics and behavior of knowledge. Knowledge societies and knowledge economies thrive in environments where communication is open, collaboration and sharing are encouraged, where leadership rather than control is the norm, where innovation and ideas flow, and everyone is valued for their potential. Knowledge societies and economies thrive on intangibles. Industrial societies and economies revolve around access to tangible property. Our legal codes are designed to protect property – tangible property.

Change, and particularly cultural change, is slow and difficult. Cultural and behavioral change is at the heart of the transition from an industrial to a knowledge society and economy. Change at this level is not easy (Andrews and Stalick 1997), and it is particularly challenging when there are no codes or guidelines. Culture and behaviors are the most difficult aspect of an organization or a society to change (Gates 208) (Herrity et al 2007) (Jones Felps and Bigley 2007) (Schein 1985) (Schein 1990) (Schein 1992) (Schein 1999) (Schein 2010) (Vitell Mwachukwu and Barnes 1993). Having normative behaviors, ethical codes and legal codes help to guide our behaviors (Bass 1999) (Donaldson and Dunfee 1994) (Sims 1992) (Sims and Brinkmann 2003) (Stead Worrell and Stead 1990) (Stevens 2008) (Trevino Butterfield and McCabe 1998) (Trevino et al 1999) (Victor and Cullen 1988). Strong role models and positive archetypes as well as clearly defined penalties and consequences can help us to shape behaviors for the future (Senge 2002). A full list of references is provided for your review.

The long range goal of this research is to create a base of ideas to fuel a discussion of how to change our knowledge behaviors. Knowledge professionals and practitioners should be at the forefront of this change. The transition to a knowledge society is not something that happens outside of us or without us. It is also not something that just happens “at work” – but in every aspect of our lives. We hope that you will contribute your experiences and engage in this on-going dialog that is critical to the knowledge sciences discipline.

Consent Form

If you would like to contribute your experiences, you may do so via the web interface to the survey. The survey is entirely anonymous and voluntary. You may terminate your participation at any time. No deception is involved, and the study involves no more than minimal risk to participants (i.e., the level of risk encountered in daily life).

Participation in the study typically takes 15 minutes and is strictly anonymous. The survey consists of six simple questions. No personally or organizationally identifiable information is being collected. And, we ask that you do not enter any information that might allow a researcher to identify individuals or organizations. All responses will be screen for identifying information prior to being included in the research corpus. All responses are treated as confidential, and in no case can responses from individual participants be identified. All data will be pooled and used for research in aggregate form only. Participants should be aware, however, that the experiment is not being run from a "secure" https server of the kind typically used to handle credit card transactions, so there is a small possibility that responses could be viewed by unauthorized third parties (e.g., computer hackers).

If participants have further questions about this study or their rights, or if they wish to lodge a complaint or concern, they may contact the principal investigator, Professor Denise Bedford at (301) 787-5257(301) 787-5257 ; or the Kent State University Institutional Review Board, at (330) 672-2704(330) 672-2704.

If you are 18 years of age or older, understand the statements above, and freely consent to participate in the study, click yes below to begin the experiment.

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