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Explorations in Information SpaceKnowledge, Actors, and Firms$
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Max H. Boisot, Ian C. MacMillan, and Kyeong Seok Han

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199250875

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199250875.001.0001

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Organizational versus Market Knowledge: From Concrete Embodiment to Abstract Representation

Organizational versus Market Knowledge: From Concrete Embodiment to Abstract Representation

Chapter:
(p.109) 4 Organizational versus Market Knowledge: From Concrete Embodiment to Abstract Representation
Source:
Explorations in Information Space
Author(s):

Max H. Boisot (Contributor Webpage)

Ian C. MacMillan (Contributor Webpage)

Kyeong Seok Han

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199250875.003.0005

In contrast to the neoclassical economic presumption in favour of markets, this chapter argues that organizations, not markets, should be taken as our default assumption. This argument is based on information processing grounds. The chapter distinguishes between Zen and Market Knowledge. The first is embodied and hard to articulate and the second abstract-symbolic. In human evolution, the first type of knowledge came first, and, on any pragmatic definition of knowledge, it still incorporates most of what we mean by the term. The chapter takes codification and abstraction as the two data processing activities that lead to the articulation of knowledge into an abstract-symbolic form. It then develops a conceptual framework, the Information-Space or I-Space to show how far the articulation of knowledge leads to its being shared. Whereas an unlimited sharing of information and knowledge leads to market-oriented outcomes, a more limited sharing leads to organizational outcomes. A market-oriented economics has tended to look to physics for its models; the field of organization theory has tended to look to biology. A more organization-oriented economics would thus look more to biology for its models.

Keywords:   neoclassical economics, market-orientated outcomes, knowledge management, transaction cost economics, codification, abstraction

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