The things we can't know and those we can't tell: An agent-based approach to modelling uncertainty and tacit knowledge - Ozge Dilaver Kalkan
|Dates:||14 April 2014|
|Times:||13:00 - 14:00|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||Alliance Manchester Business School|
|Venue opening hours:||Coffee from 12.30pm|
|Who is it for:||University staff, Adults, Alumni, Current University students, General public|
|Speaker:||Ozge Dilaver Kalkan|
Innovations, by definition, bring about significant levels of novelty. From the viewpoints of developers, innovative processes involve both identification of problems and creation of new knowledge for solving them (Nonaka, 1994) and there are fundamental uncertainties related both to technical and commercial success of their activities (Rosenberg, 2004). Lane and Maxfield (2005) distinguish between truth, semantic and ontological uncertainty. Whereas truth uncertainty refers to instances where actors are unsure about whether or not and the degree to which a well-defined proposition is true, there is further subjectivity in semantic uncertainty as the actors are also unsure of the degree of similarity between they ways different individuals understand the same proposition. In cases of ontological uncertainty, actors are not even familiar to possible entities of possible propositions and causal properties of these entities. They hold uncertainty temporarily at bay by using narrative logic; interpreting their contexts and roles by referring to familiar stories from the past and acting as if they know more than they actually do.
Narratives that are used for making sense of uncertainty are part of the tacit knowledge that individuals and organisations hold. Although expressing, discussing, refining and codifying are all important elements of knowledge creation, as in Michael Polanyi’s famous words “ we know more that we can tell” (1966, p.4) and despite increasing facilitations of information and communication technologies in distributing different forms of data, analyses, patents, scholarly and creative content, there is still a local aspect of innovative processes, partly due to this elusive nature of knowledge. Knowledge creation is also often a subjective and social process. It involves “justifying personal beliefs as part of an aspiration for the ‘truth’” (Nonaka, 1994, p.15) and although it is individual minds that produce ideas, the development of these ideas are often sustained through interactions between individuals. Tacit knowledge is more easily communicated through face-to-face interactions (Gertler, 2003) especially between individuals with similar narratives.
This study investigates these complex processes and interactions by employing an agent-based model. The model has a semi-visible fitness landscape that contains entities that represent rewards for innovation. The agents do not have perfect information about this space but they can build bounded and subjective understandings of it. How a reward entity appears to each agent depends on the knowledge set and narratives of the agent. The study explores the role of social processes that diffuse and reproduce tacit knowledge and narratives in innovative processes.
Ozge Dilaver Kalkan
Role: Research Fellow
Organisation: University of Surrey
Travel and Contact Information
Harold Hankins Building