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 knowledge.

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 “self-administration”[1]. 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 field.

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 high-profile result.

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[2].

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 representation.

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[3] 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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[1] Нонака Икуджиро, Такеучи Хиротака. Компания – создатель знания. Зарождение и развитие инновации в японских фирмах / Пер. с англ. – М.: ЗАО «Олимп – Бизнес», 2003. – 384 с.; Управление знаниями: Пер. с англ. / М.К. Румизен. – М.: ООО «Издательство АСТ», 2004. – XVIII, 318 c.: ил. – (The complete idiot’s guide); Экономика знаний / В.В. Глухов, С.Б. Коробко, Т.В. Маринина. – СПб.: Питер, 2003. – 258 с.

[2] Ильенков Э.В. Диалектика абстрактного и конкретного в научно-теоретическом мышлении. – М.: РОССПЭН, 1997. – 462 с.; Гусева Н.В. Культура. Цивилизация. Образование. Социально-философский анализ оснований развития человека в контексте цивилизации и культуры. – М.: Экспертинформ, 1992.- 283 с.; Давыдов В.В. Виды обобщений в обучении (Логико-психологические проблемы построения учебных предметов).- М.: Педагогика, 1972.- 422 с.; Лобастов Г.В. Философско-педагогические этюды. – М.: Российская Академия образования, 2003. – 327 с.; и др.

[3] См.: Реале Дж., Антисери Д. Западная философия от истоков до наших дней. Книга 4. – СПб: ТОО ТК «Петрополис», 1997, С 446-449; Lyotard J. Condition postmoderne. P. 1979; Гусева Н.В. Диалектика и постмодернистские редукции // Ильенковские Чтения. - 2011. – Астана, 2011, с. 135-137; Гусева Н.В. Диалектическое мышление и редукционизм // Актуальные проблемы развития мировой философии. - Астана, 2008, с. 164-167; Гусева Н.В. Феномен редукционизма в философском сознании // ХХП Всемирный философский конгресс. Доклады казахстанской делегации. Алматы, 2008, с. 21-31; Редукционизм и развитие современной философии как проблема // Философия в современном мире: стратегии развития. Материалы 1 Казахстанского философского конгресса. – Алматы, 2013, 56-64; Лиотар Ж.Ф. Состояние Постмодерна. Перевод с французского Н. А. Шматко "Институт экспериментальной социологии", Москва Издательство "АЛЕТЕЙЯ", Санкт-Петербург 1998; а также см.: ‘Феноменология’ (1954), ‘Отклонение исходя из Маркса и Фрейда’ (1968), ‘Либидинальная экономия’ (1974), ‘Состояние постмодерна’ (1979), ‘Спор’ (1983), ‘Склеп интеллигенции’ (1984); Ольшанский Д. А. Протез языка у Жака Деррида // «Критическая масса». — 2005. - № 3-4. - С. 60-64; Деррида, Ж. Письмо и различие. Пер. с фр. Д. Кралечкина. - М.: Академический проект, 2007. - 495 с.; Мазин В. «О грамматологии» и «Письмо и различие» Жака Деррида // Новая русская книга. — 2001. - № 6 (7). - С. 30-32.



Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №5 - 2013

  
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