Information and Knowledge: A Duality in the Communication Process
Pimenta, Geovania de Lima
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Communication is very common in human life. In fact, we take communication for granted and do not think about the challenges involved except when miscommunication happens. When two people communicate, information is exchanged. Each piece of information that comes through eliminates a series of structural choices an individual has available to him. According to Shannon‟s information theory, information reduces uncertainty by selecting one item from a set of possible items. That is Information distinguishes between relevant and irrelevant items in a set essentially dividing the set into two categories. Knowing also implies distinction or classification. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the relationship between information and knowledge by observing what happens when people communicate to each other in an experimental context. The focus of our observation is on three main situations: – 1. What happens when people communicate to each other in the context of known categorical attributes; 2. What happens when people communicate in the context of unknown categorical attributes; and 3. How is the communication process affected in the presence of known but misleading attributes as, for instance, in a situation of a cross-functional communication in organization? By studying the interaction between pairs of participants, we propose that information and categorical knowledge relate to each other, as in a duality, and influence the communication process. The study comprises four experimental conditions. This thesis provides a description of the experimental conditions, a brief report on what happened during people‟s performance, as well as some preliminary findings based on observations.