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Negotiating the Construction of Organisational Memory Using Hypermedia Argument Spaces

This paper describes an approach to capturing organisational memory in which teams use a hypermedia tool to analyse and discuss complex problems. Graphical argument spaces are constructed as competing ideas are debated. Firstly this supports the processes of discussion and negotiation which are central to knowledge work, typically as problems are defined, project constraints shift, and teams reconcile competing agendas. Graphical argumentation provides a shared working memory in meetings by focusing discussion. Secondly, the product of using such a tool to conduct discussions is a shared long term memory of the intellectual investment, thus resisting 'organisational amnesia.' Hypermedia groupware provides a way to link informal, socially embedded knowledge with other work artifacts such as reports, sketches and simulations. Examples of this approach's application are surveyed, followed by consideration of the cognitive, group and organisational dynamics that can support, or obstruct such an approach. The concluding discussion seeks to situate this approach in relation to others, by proposing four questions that an approach should seek to answer. These questions seek to clarify the interdependencies between economics, technologies, work practices, and the power and responsibility that controlling knowledge repositories brings.


Workshop on Knowledge Media for Improving Organisational Expertise, 1st International Conference on Practical Aspects of Knowledge Management, Basel, Switzerland, 30-31 October 1996.

ID: kmi-96-12

Date: 1996

Author(s): Simon Buckingham Shum

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