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Language, cognition & communication in organizations
Language plays a fundamental but poorly understood role in organizational phenomena. This research considers the workings of language and related aspects of human cognition in organizational processes, focusing in particular on the manner in which words are used to classify and represent organizational events for information processing and communication. Since words are ambiguous and events are complex, the same event can often be represented using a variety of different words, while the same word could refer to a variety of different events. This flexible relationship between words and events implies that organizational knowledge and information are highly subjective and context-dependent, influenced by such factors as task requirements, goals, and individual or organizational interests. Field studies, archival data analysis, and experimental techniques have been used to investigate such effects in processes of organizational communication, knowledge transfer, image or identity construction, and organizational control settings.
This research investigates the interaction between technical systems and the social situations in which they are used. By examining technology within a social context, a variety of organizational outcomes can be achieved, including an increased likelihood of implementation success and increased effectiveness of technology in use. Field studies have examined various socio-technical systems, including just-in-time manufacturing, nuclear power plant control room operations, team implementation, supply chain interactions, computer games, and processes of new product introduction. Computer simulation methods have been used to model organizational interactions in new product development. Experimental methods are used to examine interactions in group problem solving situations.