Kamis, 24 Februari 2011


Information work is a service profession. It is therefore important for information worker to understand society and its dynamics. This understanding enhance their ability to organize, retrieve and disseminate information to user populations in different information environments.

Society – group of people who live in a particular geographical area, are subject to a common system of political authority, are subject to a common system of political authority, and are aware of having a distinct identity from other groups around them (Giddens 1997).

Community (Unity of people smaller than a society) – Cluster of people sharing residential space, proximity in a geophysical location or area, also sharing networks of social interaction.

These are people and groups that influence our self-concept, emotions, attitudes, and behavior. These agents include family, schools, church, the work place, the state, peer groups and the mass media.

The family- “a group of persons directly linked by kin connections, the adult members of which assume responsibility for caring for children” (Giddens 1997:140).
The family is the primary agent of socialization because it is the child’s first encounter with society. From birth the child is exposed to traditions as well as societal norms through the family. Families are part of society therefore are also responsible for inculcating society’s norms and values to their members. Some families take the responsibility of inculcating religious norms.

A nuclear family is where two adults living together in a household with their own or adopted children;

An extended family consists of close relatives other than a married couple and children live in the same household or in close and continuous relationship with one another. Traditional societies consisted of extended families where responsibilities were shared among members. e.g. looking after the economic, educational and emotional needs of family members was shared among the various members of the extended family.

Functions of the family
Human beings are social beings, we need other humans for our survival. The family the family is the foundation for human survival. The following are some of the functions of the family:
Ø To ensure that babies survive to become adults;
Ø To regulate sexual activity;
Ø To ensure that children are properly socialized according to acceptable norms and values of society;
Ø To provide and support for other family members;
Ø To satisfy our emotional needs for love and security;
Ø To provide us with a sense of identity and belonging (emotionally, and socially).

Parenting styles
Parenting style is affected by both the parents' and children's temperaments, and is largely based on the influence of one’s own parents and culture. Most parents learn parenting practices from their own parents — some they accept, some they discard.
Parents and parenting styles play an important role in the socialization process.

Authoritarian parents are strict and have a set standard of behavior that is not negotiable. Children are expected to do as they are told without questioning any decisions made by their parents. They regard obedience and respective as very important. They do not display love and warmth in their dealings with their children although they take their parent responsibility seriously. As adults, children from authoritarian families tend to be shy, withdrawn and unfriendly in social situations.
Authoritative parenting/Balanced parenting
The parents are demanding. This type is characterized by a child-centered approach that holds high expectations of maturity, compliance to parental rules and directions, while allowing for an open dialogue about those rules and behaviors between the parent and child. This type of parenting encourages children to be independent but still places limits and controls on their actions." "Extensive verbal give-and-take is allowed, and parents are warm and nurturant toward the child." Authoritative parents are not usually as controlling, allowing the child to explore more freely, thus having them make their own decisions based upon their own reasoning. Authoritative parents set limits and demand maturity, but when punishing a child, the parent will explain his or her motive for their punishment. "Their punishments are measured and consistent in discipline, not harsh or arbitrary. Parents will set clear standards for their children, monitor limits that they set, and also allow children to develop autonomy. They also expect mature, independent, and age-appropriate behavior of children." They are attentive to their children’s needs and concerns, and will typically forgive and teach instead of punishing if a child falls short. This is supposed to result in children having a higher self esteem and independence because of the democratic give-take nature of the authoritative parenting style. This is the most recommended style of parenting by child-rearing experts.

Indulgent parenting/Permissive parenting
The parent is responsive but not demanding.
Indulgent parenting, also called permissive, nondirective or lenient, is characterized as having few behavioral expectations for the child. "Indulgent parenting is a style of parenting in which parents are very involved with their children but place few demands or controls on them. Parents are nurturing and accepting, and are very responsive to the child's needs and wishes. Indulgent parents do not require children to regulate themselves or behave appropriately.
Children of permissive parents may tend to be more impulsive, and as adolescents, may engage more in misconduct and drug use. "Children never learn to control their own behavior and always expect to get their way." But in the better cases they are emotionally secure, independent and are willing to learn and accept defeat. They are able to live life without the help of someone else.

Neglectful parenting/Uninvolved parenting
The parent is neither demanding nor responsive.
Neglectful parenting is also called uninvolved, detached, dismissive or hands-off. The parents are low in warmth and control, are generally not involved in their child's life, are disengaged, undemanding, low in responsiveness, and do not set limits. Parents are emotionally unsupportive of their children, but will still provide their basic needs.
Children whose parents are neglectful develop the sense that other aspects of the parents’ lives are more important than they are. Children often display contradictory behavior, and are emotionally withdrawn from social situations. This disturbed attachment also impacts relationships later on in life. In adolescence, they may show patterns of truancy and delinquency.
- learned, socially acquired traditions of thought and behaviour. It comprises of values, norms and material goods that characterize a particular group.

Values – ideas that individuals or group hold about what is desirable, proper and good. Values are strongly influenced by culture.

Norms – rules of conduct that specify appropriate behaviour in a social context. Failure to conform to norms my lead to sanctions (punishment of some kind). Norms may be applicable to all members of society or be specific to a particular culture. While adherence to norms is an effective means of preserving cultural practices, in some extreme it may result in aggression or conflict with laws of countries.

An important way of acquiring culture is through socialization which is the process through which people develop an awareness of social norms and values, and achieve a distinct sense of self (who they are). Socialization enables individuals to learn their culture and how to live within it. Therefore socialization has the following two important functions:
  • To provide the individual with the necessary resources or tools (norms, beliefs, values, etc) for acting and participating within society.
  • To orientate individual members of society by communicating the contents of culture from one generation to the other, thus enduring social and cultural continuity. We can then say socialization is a vehicle for enculturation.

This is the process of learning through experience and observation norms, beliefs and values of one’s culture. It is the process of acquiring one’s culture.
It is not possible to learn and maintain everything about one’s culture because of other factors in society. E.g. technology is playing a big role in changing some of the ways. Children are exposed to life-styles and cultures that are very different from what their parents were exposed to because of television, thus they learn things that are foreign to their cultures. This leads to acculturation.

This is a process in which members of one cultural group adopt the beliefs and behaviors of another group. Although acculturation is usually in the direction of a minority group adopting habits and language patterns of the dominant group, acculturation ban be reciprocal. That is dominant group also adopts patterns typical of the minority group.

The work place
Ethics relates to moral issues and choice and deals with right and wrong behavior. Ethical behavior is determined by various factors such as cultural, organizational and external factors. Cultural factors include the family, community, religion, etc. organizational factors include policies, practices, organizational codes of behavior, etc. external factors include political, legal and economic developments. All these factors work together in guiding and shaping workplace behavior. these factors make it difficult to have a universal agreement on what is right or wrong. Organizations usually have code of conduct that employees are expected to observe. Various professions also have their own codes of conduct which members must observe. Failure to observe these could result in disciplinary actions against such members or even expulsion from the profession.

Ethical issues in the workplace include:
· Working conditions;
· Sexual harassment;
· Employee privacy issues and others.

An example of an ethical issue is issues around working conditions relate to hours of work, minimum pay, safety in the workplace, and others.

Sexual harassments in the workplace is defined as unwelcome sexual advances for sexual favours, or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment issues are particularly difficult to deal with because of cultural differences especially in multicultural societies. In South Africa most organizations have guidelines for employees regarding what is regarded as sexual harassment. It is important that each employee familiarize him/herself with these especially because what is accepted culturally might be very different from what the workplace accepts.
Questions related to employee privacy are:

  • Is it right for and employer to listen to telephone conversations or intercept email message of employees if they suspect wrong doing on the part of these employees?
  • Is it right to make use of workplace facilities for personal needs? Does the employer have a right to monitor and take action against such activities?
  • Is it ethical to work less time than you are required to? To what extent does the employer have a right to check and take action?

Senin, 21 Februari 2011

Theories of knowledge

Theories of knowledge
What is knowledge?
How is knowledge acquired?
What do people know?
How do we know what we know?

Epistemology is concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge, and whether knowledge is possible. Among its central concerns has been the challenge posed by skepticism and the relationships between truth, belief, and justification.

Specific theories of knowledge acquisition
is one of several competing views about how we know "things", part of the branch of philosophy called epistemology, or "the Theory of Knowledge". Empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence, especially sensory perception, in the formation of ideas, while discounting the notion of innate ideas. In the philosophy of science, empiricism emphasizes those aspects of scientific knowledge that are closely related to evidence, especially as discovered in experiments. It is a fundamental part of the scientific method that all hypotheses and theories must be tested against observations of the natural world, rather than resting solely on a priori reasoning, intuition, or revelation. Hence, science is considered to be methodologically empirical in nature. These philosophers believe that for any knowledge to be properly inferred or deduced, it is to be gained ultimately from one's sense-based experience.

Specific theories of knowledge acquisition
Empiricism - is generally a theory of knowledge emphasizing the role of experience, especially experience based on perceptual observations by the five senses. Empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence, especially sensory perception, in the formation of ideas, while discounting the notion of innate ideas (except in so far as these might be inferred from empirical reasoning, as in the case of genetic predisposition).

Rationalism - is "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification" (Lacey 286).
Knowledge is primarily (at least in some areas) acquired by a priori processes(knowledge that is known independently of experience). A theory in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive" They believe that before humans can understand the world, they first need to understand themselves; the only way to accomplish that is with rational thought.
Man is composed of two parts, a body and a soul. The soul itself has two principal parts, an Irrational part, which is the emotions and desires, and a Rational part, which is our true self. In our everyday experience, the irrational soul is drawn down into the physical body by its desires and merged with it, so that our perception of the world is limited to that delivered by the physical senses. The rational soul is beyond our conscious knowledge, but sometimes communicates via images, dreams, and other means.
Rationalism is a method or a theory in which the creation of truth is not sensory by intellectual and deductive. There is a knowledge that is innate or born inside of us, that is to say that there are forms of knowledge that exists within our minds from the time we are born.

Constructivists maintain that scientific knowledge is constructed by scientists and not discovered from the world. Categories of knowledge and reality are actively created by social relationships and interactions. These interactions also alter the way in which scientific episteme is organized.
They argue that one must already have Reality in mind—that is, one must already know what Reality consists of—in order to confirm when one has at last "hit bottom.

Analytic-synthetic distinction-is a conceptual distinction, used primarily in philosophy to distinguish propositions into two types: analytic propositions and synthetic propositions.
Analytic propositions are those which are true simply by virtue of their meaning while synthetic propositions are not; however, philosophers have used the terms in very different ways.
Other philosopher believed that:
analytic proposition: a proposition whose predicate concept is contained in its subject concept
"All bachelors are unmarried."
"All triangles have three sides."

synthetic proposition: a proposition whose predicate concept is not contained in its subject concept.
"All bachelors are unhappy."
"All creatures with hearts have kidneys."
Some propositions are such that we appear to be justified in believing them just so far as we understand their meaning. For example, consider, "My father's brother is my uncle." We seem to be justified in believing it to be true by virtue of our knowledge of what its terms mean. Philosophers call such propositions "analytic." Synthetic propositions, on the other hand, have distinct subjects and predicates. An example of a synthetic proposition would be, "My father's brother has black hair." Kant held that all mathematical propositions are synthetic.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Skepticism – the belief that some or all human knowledge is impossible. Skeptics argue it is better to suspend belief than to rely on the products of reason that is doubtable. Denies the possibility of a complete or genuine knowledge of an objective world.
Skepticism is related to the question of whether certain knowledge is possible. Skeptics argue that the belief in something does not necessarily justify an assertion of knowledge of it.

Traanscendental idealism - a doctrine founded by German philosopher Immanuel Kant in the eighteenth century. Kant's doctrine maintains that human experience of things are similar to the way they appear to us — implying a fundamentally subject-based component, rather than being an activity that directly (and therefore without any obvious causal link) comprehends the things as they are in and of themselves.

Selasa, 15 Februari 2011

Types of Knowledge

Knowledge is the expertise, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education. or it is the information; awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation (Oxford English Dictionary).

In order for knowledge to exist there must be data and information.
Information is a message received and understood.
Data: means groups of information that represent the qualitative or quantitative attributes of a variable or set of variables.

Data is the lowest level of abstraction, information is the next level, and finally, knowledge is the highest level among all three. Data on its own carries no meaning. In order for data to become information, it must be interpreted and take on a meaning.

  • Explicit knowledge - that has been or can be articulated, codified, and stored in certain materials. It can be readily transmitted to others. The information contained in encyclopaedias (including Wikipedia) are good examples of explicit knowledge.
    Explicit knowledge is the things that an individual knows and can easily write down. This type of knowledge often comes through learning by observation, reading or group discussion. Often this type of knowledge can be made into print or electronic guides or stored on an intranet or database. For example the exact sequence of steps that needs to be taken to check the receipt of journals within your information service.
  • Tacit knowledge - knowledge that is difficult to transfer to another person by means of writing it down or verbalizing it.
    + people are not often aware of the knowledge they possess or how it can be valuable to others.
    + described as “know-how” as opposed to “know-what” or “know who”. e.g. how to ride a bike
    Tacit knowledge is implicit and is not necessarily or easily articulated in formal documents. The owner of this knowledge is aware that they have it and it is gained over a period of time from experiences and includes insights, emotions and the concept of 'how things are done around here'. People build up tacit knowledge during time spent in a role or within an organisation. New employees begin to build up tacit knowledge when the join a new organisation. It is often hard to share with others.Logical knowledge is the knowledge that is the results of the understanding of the relationship of ideas to one another.Systematic knowledge is knowledge of mathematics and geometry which is a result of leaning a system of words, or symbols and how they relate to one another and the rules of operating in that system.Indigenous knowledge is local knowledge. it is knowledge that is unique to a given culture or society. It is the basis for local-level decision-making in agriculture, health care, food preparation, education etc


Personal Knowledge or knowledge by acquaintance.
Knowledge in this sense is to do with being familiar with something. In order to know Amy, one must have met her. In order to know fear, one must have experienced it.
In each of these cases, the word "know" is being use to refer to knowledge by acquaintance.

Propositional Knowledge or knowledge of facts. When we say things like "I know that the internal angles of a triangle add up to 180 degress" or "I know that it was you that ate my sandwich", we are claiming to have propositional knowledge.

Logical knowledge is the knowledge that is the results of the understanding of the relationship of ideas to one another.

Systematic knowledge is knowledge of mathematics and geometry which is a result of leaning a system of words, or symbols and how they relate to one another and the rules of operating in that system.

Indigenous knowledge is local knowledge. it is knowledge that is unique to a given culture or society. It is the basis for local-level decision-making in agriculture, health care, food preparation, education etc.