Information and knowledge

In addition there is much confusion with the terms ‘information’ and ‘knowledge’.

The nature of information, data and knowledge and the relationships between these concepts have been described as the cornerstone for understanding knowledge management theory and practice in organizations (Martin, 2008).

Traditional Knowledge Pyramid

The traditional knowledge “DIKW” pyramid illustrating the idea that facts processed in meaningful ways produce data, information, knowledge, and finally wisdom (Koohang et al, 2008). The DIKW Pyramid, is also known variously as the

  • DIKW Hierarchy
  • Wisdom Hierarchy
  • Knowledge Hierarchy
  • Information Hierarchy
  • Knowledge Pyramid (Wikipedia, 2013).

The traditional knowledge hierarchy first appears in KM literature with the work of Zeleny (1987). This point of view implies that data can be found in much larger quantities than wisdom, which explains the pyramid shape (Koohang et al, 2008).

Ackoff (1989) introduced a pyramid with five constructs:

  • data,
  • information,
  • knowledge,
  • understanding, and
  • wisdom

Various modifications to this pyramid have been suggested. However, this hierarchical structure can be misleading, implying that one component of the model is superior to another, whereas each can be potentially valuable in appropriate circumstances (Stenmark, 2001 as cited in Martin, 2008).

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