When Literature Collides with Knowledge Management and Theory

Both Tremblay (1995) and Rule and Besen (2008) reference Porat’s vision in detail. While Rule and Besen (2008) presents Porat as being more neutral in perspective, Tremblay believes that Porat is far too optimistic. Too, both discuss Gates, though in Rule and Besen (2008) Gates is simply a reference amongst other luminaries and not the focus of making Gate’s business practices/empire/success as being an independent idea in and of itself. In general, the two both contain the same feeling: that this information society does not present a message of hope, but rather a darker perspective on the future. While some of this originates with theorists in Rule and Besen (2008), Tremblay’s is entirely his/her own, as he struggles to make sense of the world’s changing.

Tremblay (1995) is right in the idea that people follow their fields in terms of what they believe, as well as what we believe in terms of news and the media. The idea, however, that either he/she and Rule and Besen (2008) are free of bias is interesting, as both seem to have a rather gloomy slant on the future of information technology. It’s interesting that neither goes into the technology theory about early adopters and the patterns which they establish for behavior and making new technology popular. Both seem to believe that people do not use new technologies due to a lack of push for newer technology, rather than including ideas such as new technological malfunctions, cost, and problems such as the digital divide. While both articles are scholarly in nature, Tremblay (1995) relies on references to literature (though he does not directly discuss Fahrenheit 451, the future he/she describes seems to be like a cross between this and the film Brazil) and some theory to support his/her argument. Rule and Besen (2008) takes a much more scholarly approach, but it is one that is repeated by some historians over and over- the idea that the arts are simply supplementary rather than central, and that history and technology take too long to come into their own. Rather, it seems that history has been driven by art in it’s darkest hour, at least for the masses (Perhaps this sounds a bit like bread and circuses). Like Mary discusses, ideas take time to move from one part of the mind to another in terms of what type of knowledge we possess, likewise history and theory do the same within the social consciousness, going from tacit which we would simply act upon to being studied and possibly immortalized as a theory. This brings up Lucas (2005)’s point about trust being the key to people’s relationships within a corporation, and thus how people outside the corporate sphere view the company- it all seems to circle back to the point that people ignore the social patterns by which we live, and that this would turn up in an analysis of history and theory as well, thus driving the need for a negative to neutral image of the future.

Rule, J. B., & Besen, Yasemin. (2008). The once and future information society. Theory and Society, 37(4), 317-342.

Lucas, L. M. (2005). The impact of trust and reputation on the transfer of best practices. Journal of Knowledge Management, 9(4), 87-101.

Tremblay, G. (1995). The information society: From Fordism to Gatesism. Canadian Journal of Communication, 20(4), 461-482.



7 thoughts on “When Literature Collides with Knowledge Management and Theory

    1. I think it’s best to remain neutral- from a historical standpoint, the era we are in is always the best or the worst. Likewise, views of the past and future are often viewed with the same bias, which taints the data.

      Liked by 1 person

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