Coherent, the Force is….
Wolfgang Scholl* Humboldt-University, Berlin
Although the relation of power to knowledge is an often discussed theme, a psychological and sociological scrutiny of the issue is lacking. A new conceptual and theoretical approach to this issue is presented here that distingushes between restrictive and promotive control. Restrictive control is a form of power exertion in which one actor pushes his wishes through against the interests of another actor. In contrast, if an actor influences the other in line with his or her interests, this is called promotive control. Information pathologies, i.e., avoidable failures of distributed information processing, are introduced as an inverse measure for the quality and quantity of knowledge production. It is hypothesized that restrictive control has negative consequences for the production of new or better knowledge, because it induces information pathologies that in turn lower the effectiveness of joint action. These two hypotheses are tested in a study on 21 successful and 21 unsuccessful innovations with a dual qualitative and quantitative approach. The interpretive analysis of interviews with the main actors of each innovation case as well as the statistical analysis of questionnaire responses by the same actors strongly corroborate both hypotheses. Methodological problems, theoretical perspectives, and practical consequences are discussed. The second half of this century has seen the transition from industrial to informational societies.
The coming century will see communication and information processing becoming even more important for the handling of any issue in politics, in the economy, or in private affairs. The amount of information produced is I want to thank Irene H. Frieze and the anonymous reviewers for their many helpful comments as well as Iain S. Glen for improving my German English.
*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Wolfgang Scholl, Institute of Psychology, Humboldt-University, Oranienburger Str. 18, D-10178 Berlin, Germany [e-mail: [email protected]].
Phi Beta Iota: This is a very fine article that among other things helps get us all back to Harold Wilenski’s Organization Intelligence: Knowledge and Policy in Government and Industry (Basci Books, 1967), a classic work that first identified conditions leading to information pathologies — secrecy is a big one. The data in “big data” is so corrupt, full of holes, lacking in true cost attributes, and on and on, that using big data to predict the future is like overdosing on cocaine to see if our drug policies are working. Within the intelligence world we have neglected the human factor and lost the ability to think with integrity. Requirements definition is broken; collection management is broken; 360 global all language source discovery and discrimination is broken; etcetera. Today there at least forces competing for the soul of analytic integrity:
With the Force: Jack Davis and Analytic Tradecraft
With the Force: Big Data Philanthropy, Data Autonomy from Legacy Systems
With the Force: Forensic History; Transparency, Truth & Trust; Whole Systems & True Cost — Comprehensive Architecture
Dark Side of the Force: More money for technology, no focus on lack of underlying human education