Toward Simulation Models of Knowledge-Intensive Work Processes

TitleToward Simulation Models of Knowledge-Intensive Work Processes
Publication TypeWorking Paper
AuthorsNissen, M., and R. Levitt
Year of Publication2002
Date Published11/2002

As organizations attempt to do more, faster, with less, they run into information processing bottlenecks. Over the past decade, the Virtual Design Team (VDT) research group at Stanford has operationalized and extended Galbraith's information processing theory in the form of a modeling and simulation language and software tool. For the kinds of fast track, but relatively routine, projects studied by the VDT group to date, sharing of information is frequently the bottleneck to successful project completion. For many kinds of less routine work, however, knowledge sharing among specialists with very different levels of skills and experience is critical to achieving organizational goals, and the flow and processing of knowledge is at least as important to organizational performance as the complementary flow and processing of information. However, the VDT research methods and tools have not been developed to address the unique nature of knowledge and its flow through the organization. This collaborative research builds upon the VDT research stream to incorporate emerging work on the phenomenology of knowledge flow. Defining important dimensions of knowledge flows and investigating the micro-behaviors of agents dealing with knowledge flows that differ along these dimensions, the micro-behaviors of agents performing knowledge work are conceptualized for later embedded as additional micro-behaviors in VDT computational agents. Through new knowledge generated and computational tools to enact such knowledge, this research has the potential to make contributions both to both science and technology.

KeywordsAgent-Based Simulation, Information Processing, Knowledge Flow, Knowledge Management, Organization Theory
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