But for a word — keywords in strange context

Aug. 25, 2010

Keywords and taxonomies can bite us in the rear end.  We spend lots of time making assumptions about what we know, but so much of the time we get tangled up in the unspoken assumptions around the labels.

I am researching and writing on two arenas now.  First, I’m writing on how search, Google, and what we create as learning experiences in schools are building up friction for change.  That research has delved into the worlds of keywords, natural language, and the politics of taxonomies and knowledge.  I’m a big fan of Morgan’s work on organizational metaphor (Images of Organization, 1996), so this examination of taxonomy of words as knowledge drivers resonates strongly with me.

The second project is about how we use narrative in organizational routines.  I did not know clearly that this was about “routines” until this week.  I had been dwelling and searching on pre-decisional structures, decision making, knowledge management, information bias, politics of information, organizations, and all sorts of other great keywords and concepts.  The keywords within those circles all play into each other and lead me into other research papers in other related journals in the same realm.

This week, I delved into a musty library copy of Nelson & Winter’s Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change (1982) to re-think about routines as core structures of narratives of how organizations function.  I then tucked into research referring to that work from 2005 until now.  A whole world unfolded that interrelated with my second project and that had not unveiled itself as I was not looking for “routines.”

A rose by any other name…might never get found!

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