4.18.2 Information visualisation

We read increasingly of the problem of information overload. Earlier, we emphasised the importance of designing appropriate information representations to assist human interpretation in order to create actionable knowledge. Information visualisation is concerned explicitly with designing representations using intuitive visual metaphors and graphics to highlight the most important aspects of information structures and processes. Information visualisation is a rapidly emerg
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4.18.1 Data mining

Data mining refers to techniques for analysing databases or information systems to try to identify hidden but significant patterns that are not possible to detect by standard querying of the database.

Moxon defines data mining as follows:

Data mining is a set of techniques used in an automated approach to exhaustively explore and bring to the surface complex relationships in very large datasets … most likely im
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4.17.1 Software agents

A software agent is a program that displays a certain minimum level of autonomy – it acts as a surrogate for a human user. An agent does something for the user automatically, when given instructions. The more sophisticated the agent is, the fewer instructions it needs, and the more capable it is of making decisions on its own – the more ‘agent-like’ it is. An agent can be run on a client (the user's machine) or on a server (for example, a web server). It can also be anchored (stationa
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4.16.1 Ontologies + the Web = the Semantic Web

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, has defined a vision of the Web's evolution into the Semantic Web:

The Semantic Web is not a separate Web but an extension of the current one, in which information is given well-defined meaning, better enabling computers and people to work in cooperation. The first steps in weaving the Semantic Web into the structure of the existing Web are already under way.
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4.14.1 Metadata

Metadata is descriptive data about data. This has also come to refer to a way of tagging documents (on the Web or any other repository) with structured, descriptive information. For example, to describe a unit in B823, we would expect to have concepts such as title and author, but perhaps also prerequisite or core concepts. Translated into a metadata scheme, this might appear as follows (typically metadata fields use to delimit each metadata
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4.13.1 Standards and classification

ICTs depend on myriad standards in order to provide interconnectivity. If this was a computer science course, you would be learning about standard network protocols which enable computers to communicate with each other or with other devices, whether over the internet or from your computer to a network printer. Standards enable us to send email and browse websites without worrying about the underlying mechanisms (until they fail, forcing us to focus on the tool instead of our work).


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4.13 Technologies and explicit knowledge

Knowledge-based systems have the ability to analyse specific kinds of information in order to take action. Since we have earlier defined knowledge as arising out of the interpretation of information as mediated by representations, we can claim that in a limited sense such systems can ‘know’ things: they have a representation of part of the world, and they have some rules that allow them to analyse that representation, from which they can decide on a course of action. In that sense, they h
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4.11.1 Debating and negotiating meaning

The two briefings in Boxes 4.10 and 4.11 illustrate other technological approaches to supporting socially based forms of knowledge generation, with the common theme of facilitating negotiation and debate among stakeholders. These are examples of tools which can assist communication between communities of practice as they seek to understand each other's perspectives.

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4.2.1 Mapping who knows what continued

Box 4.2 Knowledge sharing at Hewlett-Packard

One knowledge management initiative involves HP educators. Bruce Karney is a member of the infrastructure team for the Corporate Education organisation, part of HP's Personnel function. Karney estimates that there are more than 2,000 educ
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2.5 Design implications

The difficulties just described have very practical implications when it comes to designing technologies. Consider the following quotations:

in selecting any representation we are in the very same act unavoidably making a set of decisions about how and what to see in the world …

a knowledge representation is a set of ontological commitments. It is unavoidably so because of the inevitable imperfections of
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5 Conclusion

The argument underpinning this course has stressed the dangers of seeing implementation as somehow separate from the policy process, or as just one stage within it. Instead it has been emphasised that it is vital to place implementation centrally within that process – involving negotiation, learning and adaptation. Others too have come to regard this as central to the policy process. In the first edition of their book on implementation, Pressman and Wildavsky emphasise the disjunction betwe
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5.2 An integrated perspective on relationship management: the six markets model

Christopher et al. (1991) developed a complementary model to Piercy's. Based on the idea of stakeholders, the ‘six market model’ of relationship management works equally well in either a commercial or non-profit setting. I have combined the Piercy and Christopher et al. models in the following table to illustrate some of the critical issues in the key relationships that organisations need to address.

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4.5 Is M&S market led?

Activity 7

Allow half an hour.

Read Case study 1 and then use the evidence there to answer the following questions.

  1. Do you think that M&S is market led?


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6.1 Variety of business objectives

Most people would agree that the primary objective of a business is to survive and, in order to survive, its revenue must be greater than its expenditure.

Activity 13

What other objectives do you think a business
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5 The characteristics of ‘good’ information

Have you ever seen a set of published accounts for a company? If you haven’t or, even if you have, take a look at some now. (They are often called the annual report.)

A large range of information is available online at your fingertips. Some of it is useful, most of it is not. Accountants are increasingly having to deal with growing quantities of information and many are having to search for relevant information as part of their jobs. Some of these activities are designed to dev
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Learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • describe accounting's primary objective

  • explain what is meant by inputs to and outputs from the accounting information system

  • explain the relationship between data, data processing, data summarisation and information

  • explain the difference between data and information

  • describe the five main characteristics of 'good' information.


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Acknowledgements

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

The material acknowledged below is Proprietary and used under licence (not subject to Creativ
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References

Brown, A. (1995) Organisational Culture, London, Pitman.
Crace, J. (2000) ‘Feel at home with a job abroad’, Guardian, 14 October.
Drennan, D. (1992) Transforming Company Culture, London, McGraw Hill.
Hofstede, G. (1980) Culture's Consequences: International Differences in Work Related Values, London, Sag
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Keep on learning

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2.2 Symbols within business

How have academics and managers attempted to diagnose these largely hidden aspects of business? One well-known example is provided by Trice and Beyer (1984), who concentrated on the idea of there being symbols within a business. They divided these into, first, high-level symbols, which are the more obvious ones such as company buildings and logos, and, second, low-level symbols. They suggested four categories of low-level symbols: practices, communications, physical forms and a common languag
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