This thread of my work explores the forms of knowledge shared across organizational boundaries, the mechanisms for sharing knowledge that are employed, and how human-sensemaking is mediated by processual, technical and informational artifacts. My work draws on theories of distributed cognition, contextual emergence, and sociomateriality. Hayden White observes that human sensemaking relies on subjective forms of narrative for meaning. Much of this work explored how to enable a “conversation with the situation” that introduces reflexive breakdowns into the situated narrativizing and framing in which humans routinely engage. This results in different types of support, focusing on the different forms of knowledge that are required for decision-making — and the degree to which such knowledge can be shared.

Forms of Knowledge (from Gasson & Shelfer, 2006):


Managing Group Knowledge in Distributed Networks of Practice

In virtual organizations and distributed project groups, non-human objects increasingly mediate human relationships, as they displace humans as collaboration-partners in distributed knowledge networks. We may be able to identify forms of metaknowledge that work across domain boundaries by identifying mediating object roles – e.g. categorization schemes, instrumentation, databases, and routinized practices that embed frameworks for analysis or participation. My analysis has revealed different forms of group memory management in use, depending on the organizational scope of projects and the locus of control in the global network. The legitimization of knowledge is mediated by technical objects, creating assemblages of social and technical performativity, that direct the emergence of new paradigms through a succession of small network transformations.

Selected Papers:

Khazraee, E.K. & Gasson, S. (2015) ‘Epistemic Objects and Embeddedness: Knowledge Construction and Narratives in Research Networks of Practice’ The Information Society, 31(2), forthcoming, Jan. 2015.

Gasson, S. (2015) “Knowledge Mediation and Boundary-Spanning In Global IS Change Projects.” Proceedings of Hawaii Intl. Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-48), Jan. 5-8, 2015. Knowledge Flows, Transfer, Sharing and Exchange minitrack, Knowledge Systems.

Gasson, S. (2012) The Sociomateriality Of Boundary-Spanning Enterprise IS Design, in Joey, F. George (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2012, Orlando, USA, December 16-19, 2012. Association for Information Systems 2012, ISBN 978-0-615-71843-9,

Gasson, S. (2011) ‘The Role of Negotiation Objects in Managing Meaning Across e-Collaboration Systems.’ OCIS Division, Academy of Management Annual Meeting, San Antonio, August 11-16, 2011.

Gasson, S. and Elrod, E.M. (2006) Distributed Knowledge Coordination Across Virtual Organization Boundaries’, in Proceedings of ICIS ’06, Milwaukee, WI, paper KM-01. [Winner of ICIS Best paper in track award].

Gasson, S. and Shelfer, K.M. (2006) ‘IT-Based Knowledge Management To Support Organizational Learning: Visa Application Screening At The INS’, Information, Technology & People, 20 (4), pp. 376-399. Winner of 2008 Emerald Literati outstanding paper award.

DeLuca, D., Gasson, S., and Kock, N. (2006) ‘Adaptations That Virtual Teams Make So That Complex Tasks Can Be Performed Using Simple e-Collaboration Technologies’ International Journal of e-Collaboration, 2 (3), pp. 65-91