Language phenomenon and knowledge management as a problem
Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №5 - 2013
Author: Guseva Nina, East Kazakhstan State Technical University in honor of D. Serikbayev, Kazakhstan
Interrelation between the language phenomenon and the process of
knowledge management is if not obvious, then rather sensible. Language
phenomena presence can be detected in both the process of management itself and
in what should convey the subject matter and meaning of management. Presence of
language phenomena can vary from the formal presence where the language assumes
the shape of the medium, to the substantive presence, where due to the language
it becomes possible to disclose the logics of the knowledge formation process.
Within this interval, both the language and management of this or that process
(including knowledge management process) are interrelated. This interrelation
is also substantiated by the fact that alteration of the knowledge form (for
example, from processual to static, from implicit to explicit) results in
corresponding alteration of language forms participating in knowledge
objectivation. The converse is also true. Alteration of language forms while
working with knowledge material and processes leads to alteration of
possibilities and forms of work with knowledge. In this case, the basic
interval of alteration will proceed from knowledge management as objective
forms to initiating new knowledge formation by the language.
Appealing to examination of language phenomena is timely, since it
is the language that acts, on the one hand, as “live materialization” of the
spirit and soul of culture, and, on the other hand, actively “deadens” it. The
latter is expressed in continuous expanding of the language functioning as a
medium for “ready” knowledge or information transfer. The status of a “medium”
stands for such a language transformation which reduces its functions to
information medium, neutral as to the sense contained. Dominance of this
language status in real activities of daily living speaks for lifestyles and
social organization of private and public life alternative to culture.
Manifestation of the language as a medium evidences of the splitting
of the culture “content area” where its form and content attain some kind of
independence from one another. Evaluation of the current processes’ content is
given ignoring the specifics of their form, that is, content area comes to
exist outside the current form. On the contrary, the formal aspect develops
ability to function according to its own mode, irrespective of the ongoing
processes’ content. Information flows can vary in their specific features
irrelevant to their content. In everyday life it happens when an information
specialist is interested not in the content of the information flow he is
working with, but in the specifics of the flow itself, its form (in a broad
sense) and detailing parameters.
At the same time, real creative activity which is expressive of the
current status of culture cannot exist in the situation of the split contents
of the related processes and their forms. Such a splitting of the sense of the
unity of culture and its form implies absence of culture in this case; and it
seems to be replaced by some number of static components referring either to
contents or to the form, which components were described. Each of these
components has its own language form. In its internal organization, it
corresponds to the statics of the signified phenomena. The static character is
expressed by the language forms typically denoting completed actions or a
succession of completed actions. Focusing on the static character of the action
should be emphasized, since the language structure expressed through statics,
“constructs” the semantic statics of the human space as well. In its turn,
semantic statics stipulates closing of the reproduced content of the human
livelihood at final definitions, not promoting reproducing the developmental
logics and real development processes’ logics. In this case, a language fails
to reveal its substantial creative characteristics. It is implied that a language
taken as means of reproducing certain content, initially does not participate
in shaping the contents meanings. On the contrary, language in the status of a
cultural phenomenon is in itself the means, content and form of meanings development
in the sphere of activity reflected. Development and maturing of activities’
senses within the language, provides, in particular, meaningful and productive
intellectual process. A person’s creative thinking coincides with its
objectivation in the language as a cultural phenomenon. In this case, the
language actively demonstrates its creative thinking potential and thinking
reveals the language creative potential. This very process gives birth to
generating real context of new meanings, characterizing emergence of new
discoveries in the thinking process and emerging new language phenomena. With
that, new language units appear, as if all by themselves, to denote these
altered meanings. Such a phenomenon becomes recognizable when a person
recognizes the language insufficiency for expressing a certain idea. Herewith,
new language variants appear to denote these modified meanings, as if on their
own accord. On the other hand, such a phenomenon comes to be evident when a
person realizes that a certain language phenomenon guides his thought in a definite
direction. One of such variants is represented by nomenclature of different sciences.
Each of the concrete science terms embraces a certain array of modification of
information and its content referring to its research field. Alteration of
conceptual constructs of a science has a strong impact on its status and
prospects for further development.
Identification of the language phenomena status is relevant in cases
of creation and implementation of prominent socially significant programs.
The sphere of education is one of such programs. “Technicalization”
of the educational process considerably changes not only the language role, but
also the language itself. Programs for introduction of new technologies into
the educational process foresee a service role of language as a medium, carrier
of semantics and meanings, functioning while the process of these technologies
implementation. This role of the language does not imply realization of the
language’s own potential. On the contrary, realization of the language as a
medium actually requires neglecting this potential absolutely, since it can
distort the current system of ready knowledge functioning, reveal its limited
character, and in many cases, inaccuracy and artificiality. The sphere of
ready knowledge functioning fails to reproduce specific features of the
cognitive process in a relevant way. It means that education realized according
to the model of ready knowledge application inherits its peculiar features:
limitations, unreliability and artificiality. Language as a medium, vehicle of
meanings of ready knowledge, being only a medium, cannot alter the character of
education. Here, the language turns only an auxiliary instrumental phenomenon.
At the same time, the language reproducing and preserving values of
cultural and historic processes, is capable of changing educational process
from within. It may happen, because cultural and historical values have other
logics of construction and unfolding from the very start, if compared with the
structure and functioning of the ready knowledge. Presence of cultural and
historic values in the educational process induces its internal restructuring
characteristic of an actual thinking process. It matches with available
language phenomena differing essentially from those providing ready knowledge
functioning. As an example, we can examine the difference between the languages
of a senior manager and a researcher, or a poet. Managerial language is
characterized, mostly, by impersonal language phenomena or constructions. Scientific
or poetic languages imply at least personal position of authors in terms of the
subject matter. A distinctive feature of the managerial language is the
“inventory” logics, that is, the logics of the process description, and absence
of the “business/subject matter” logics. Noting absence of the “subject matter”
logics, we want to highlight that any functional process is nothing more than
an appearance, easier display of the “business/subject matter” logics which is
modelled by them at the attributive level. We can illustrate the above
mentioned and examine the description of the process of some content’s
functioning. Let it be education. In this description, we shall find
enumeration of a huge amount of actions performed by the learner, the teacher,
the school principal, etc. Each enumerated element will have its grammar form,
that is, will express some performed action. All of these elements together and
each of them apart will not uncover the subject-matter of an educational
process, its historic and cultural idea important for the present-day and
further generations. Language phenomena reflecting successive or other actions
performed by the educational process’s agents, will not reflect in themselves
neither the significance of the actions expressed in the verb forms for culture
development, nor the meaning of education as a culture phenomenon. Verbal forms
used for expressing successive or other kind of actions performed by the agents
of the educational process, will denote only some functional moments in the
current educational process. Variety of language phenomena participating in
this functioning will not be great. It will be limited by the number of
instructive words necessary for manipulations with the given content and
variants of these very manipulations. Manipulations with the given content are
possible only in case the content itself does not participate in these manipulations.
That was the first point. The second point is as follows: in order to exclude
the contents from participation in manipulations, and to prevent its
significant impact, it should be neutralized. It means that the content should
be modified so that to actualize the parameter characterizing the attained
convenience in manipulating for the manipulators. All these successive operations
have a direct bearing on the abovementioned deviation from the subject-matter.
Thus, the essence of the matter is present in the language phenomena only when
they express some cultural and historic values of the performed actions, and
not attributive and functional ones. If language phenomena express
functional-attributive senses in themselves, it means that they leave the
limits of contents and become formal denotations of the current manipulations
with conditions and elements, convenient for acquisition and transfer of ready
The concept of knowledge management as it is presented in the actual
studies on the problem under consideration is being totally relegated to the
information space organization. Specifically, the organizational aspect
predominates. It is equipped with technical means and implementation
principles. The purport of knowledge narrowed down to information is lost.
Further on, purely informational work, work with ready knowledge follows.
Employing this strategy, you cannot generate true innovation as some kind of
breakthrough into whole new knowledge. Following this way, you can only get new
patchwork configuration of the acquired or present information. Compilation,
manipulation in the field of ready knowledge application cannot be defined as
brand new knowledge.
A social character of knowledge and its source are not taken into
consideration, as well as its development. The social character of knowledge is
present in the meanings comprised in knowledge, in the manner of people social
interaction, in their work methods, conveyed in knowledge, etc.
It is important to distinguish between information and knowledge.
But when it comes to the problem of knowledge management, the main idea of this
distinction vanishes, and schemes of information packages or data-banks manipulations
stay. Such a substitution defames the very idea of the sensible, conscientious
approach to aiming the cognition process at reaching new horizons and making discoveries.
Substitution of knowledge study by information is also revealed in
understanding of the meaning and character of innovations. The current
discrepancy in the treatment of innovations mostly refers to the authors’
choice as the basis for understanding knowledge as information. Discrepancies
in treatment of innovations mostly refer to consideration of knowledge as
information. “Technicalization” of the knowledge management problem within an
organization, neutralizes the significance of considering the social aspect of
knowledge “life”. With that, knowledge management within an organization turns
to be only the form of informative contact between the staff. Huge quality
knowledge potential is wasted. This potential is evident and can be realized in
the form of human social activity, where people actively reveal their talents
and creativity, etc.
The problem of motivation in terms of the staff readiness to share
knowledge within this or that organization is solved without any special
pressure in case of the social, conceptual, not manipulative character of
activity itself. In case of the social activity (in practice, and without consideration
of the number of the persons participating in the manipulation processes), the
content of motivation is not separated from the content of activity itself; it
does not exist separately, and thus, does not require any special organization
as an outward condition. Work at knowledge itself as a socio-cultural
phenomenon creates inner motivation, and consequently, the problems of
knowledge management can rather be referred to as problems of
Within the vast field of implementation, the notion of management always
implies external impact on some managed process. The external character of the
management towards the process to be managed drastically complicates and
distorts its matter. Putting aside this circumstance testifies to inability or
disinterest of persons or official bodies in acquiring adequate meaningful
result, or insufficient elaboration of the knowledge forming investigation
Currently, both variants are detected in available array of
information devoted to knowledge management problem. From our point of view,
organizational aspect of knowledge management problem should not substitute
examination of the matter and content of knowledge formation process that
obtains an organizational form of existence, and relevant to this form language
status. On the contrary, an organization form as the form of knowledge management
should have an inferior position towards the process of knowledge formation, in
terms of structure and functions. Otherwise, both matter and content of
knowledge are inevitably distorted and the role of language is reduced to the
role of an external medium. With that, knowledge is reduced to
information-expositive constructions devoid of any possible interest on the
part of the persons who have to work with them. In its turn, the situation
gives rise to the problem of external motivation source. Inner motivation which
is much more powerful than external one, can be illustrated by the example of research
teams and individual researchers whose creative potential result in outstanding
discoveries and findings; they have been creating true knowledge without any
external sources of motivation. And the other way round, in case of applying
any external motivation vehicle, research teams failed to produce any
Commitment to innovation and modernization should not lead to neglecting
such a powerful driver as knowledge development formation principles. It means
that the authors, who have been engaged in elaborating recommendations in the
field of knowledge management, should seriously revise their train of thought
direction. We mean available developments in the area of methodological
foundations of knowledge formation.
This is the sphere of activity, where we see principles of thinking
elaborated by humanity within thousands of years of human thought development
and presented by dialectical philosophical tradition. Awareness and
understanding of the current state and prospects of changes and development is
an essential condition for proper perception of the world, both for an
individual and for a society. Historically, dialectics has developed as a
thinking tradition promoting most relevant world outlook based on thorough
analysis of the ties observed in the world around; these ties being
intrinsical, objective, repetitive and necessary. Dialectics conveys the historical
principles of thinking, including thinking paradigm in various epochs, and
these principles of thinking keep developing. Practical and intellectual
experience of generations before us is reflected in dialectics, which
represents the best way of advancement towards the gist of the current world
events rather than the storage, the array of mental patterns. It means that dialectics
cannot be relevantly expressed in any conceptual layout. But it can be virtually
present in the dialectical way of thinking. Following dialectical thinking
mode, to comprehend situation does not mean to narrow it down to the current
moment, neglecting its origin and actual context, its ongoing transformations
and transition into other states. Dialectical thinking is oriented at
understanding of necessary correctives leading outside the limits of
contextual, final, verbal stereotypes functioning in the community. Thinking
process focused on limited by some situation understanding, on finite being, is
traditionally called discursive thinking level. In business, such limitations
will inevitably manifest themselves in a narrow (and, correspondingly, wrong)
understanding of strategy, including knowledge management strategy. In
education, such limitation will manifest itself in a narrow-minded idea of the
education goal as of attaining knowledge as substantial forms, loading memory
and restricting the ability to think, understand and take appropriate
decisions. The rational level which actually characterizes dialectical thinking
is necessitated by processual, cultural and historical consideration of any
issue. This level implies cognition and understanding of the set tasks at the
rational level, without substituting it by derivatives like the “products of
mind” or sensibility. The last-mentioned being taken as a mode of understanding
and translation of some subject-matter into the sphere of sociality, distort
the nature of the processes undergoing there. In a volatile environment, the
problem manifests itself in a most evident way, since the circumstances demand
adequate analysis of the current situation and realistic prospects. Detection
of the process’ logics differs essentially from formation of its arbitrary
Substitution of the process’s logic by creation of its
representation, or by a description supplied with characteristics file,
provides no possibility of any adequate understanding of its matter. It means inevitable
loss of direction and, in fact, spiraling into chaos.
Nowadays, lack of balance in the social relations becomes the matrix
of understanding. In this context, a relatively new trend can be detected in
postmodernity, with its lack of a system as a “matrix”, and the idea of
“haosmos” as the guiding principle of world perception, which can be defined by
modes of disorder
traced by postmodernists in real life itself. Order is characterized as the
result of human activity, personal concepts, and common sense. It is assumed
that the impact of consciousness has to be eliminated, so that to arrive to
authentic reality. When you get rid of mental stereotypes, the massif of
irregular being immediately manifests itself. Eclecticism is the corresponding
to this “discovery” method of fixation.
Underestimation of the methodological potential of dialectical type
of thinking misrepresents and distorts consideration of the knowledge
management problem, from the formulation of the problem to drawing conclusions
and recommendations. Superficial schemes of the contextual character are being
taken instead of methodological basis, and these schemes are applied to
analyzing the work of the staff and individuals. With that, the implied
schematic character of interpersonal relations mitigates inner resources of
interpersonal relations, as well as the meaning of “knowledge” used to manage
them according to such schemes. Current social processes need further
stabilization of substantive grounds not only for global survival, but for
recovery of development potential. Against this background, recognition of
significance of human interrelations via language and knowledge is essential.
In this context, it is important to choose those variants of the language and
knowledge, as well as the processes they provide for, which do not belong to destructive
ones and promote surmounting deconstructive modes of thinking and living.
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Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №5 - 2013