Cognition, Actors, and Organizations,
 or Why Organizations are
about Managing Knowledge


René J. Jorna

Faculty of Management and Organization;

University of Groningen; PO 800, 9700 AV Groningen,

The Netherlands.



© This paper is not for reproduction without the express permission of the author


In this article knowledge types are combined with organizational forms. Knowledge is something individual actors have. This paves the way for a semio-cognitive approach to actors. Organizations in which primary and organizational (secondary) tasks are performed are multi-actor systems. Organizational processes consist of tasks, such as planning, control and communication. These tasks are performed by individuals with knowledge. Concerning knowledge not only content, but also type can be discerned. Three knowledge types are distinguished: sensory, coded and theoretical. In developing a conceptual framework for the cognitive analysis of knowledge management, I will demonstrate that dominance and various distributions of knowledge types fit well-known organizational forms and coordination mechanisms with labels such as machine bureaucracy, simple structure, professional bureaucracy and market. Knowledge management, therefore, is about knowledge types and cognitive actors executing tasks in organizations.

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