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An Exploration of Information Inadequacy: Instances that Cause the Lack of Needed Information
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, School of Computer Science, Physics and Mathematics. (Informatics)
2011 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Information is one of the most essential resources in our contemporary societies, as it guideshuman thinking, planning and subsequent actions, which in turn generates consequencesthat are desired or not. The Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008, the tsunami in Indonesiain 2004, the Space Shuttle Challenger destruction in 1986 are just three instances ofdramatic situations, emerging continuously, where information plays a crucial role. Thisstudy investigates the phenomenon of the lack of needed information, predominantlyexperienced with difficulties in human, social and industrial affairs. Consequently, thechallenge is to understand why such situations emerge. Two approaches are utilized toexplore this challenge using an interpretivist tradition. The first is a hermeneutic approach,the second a grounded theory approach. The first approach – theoretically oriented –investigates numerous theoretical bodies, selected with the assumption that they can explainthe addressed challenge. The results show that there are no comprehensive theoreticalbodies that can fully account for the phenomenon of the lack of needed information.Furthermore, there is no consensus on what “information” is – the very core of thechallenge, which gave the foundations for a formulation of an alternative notion ofinformation and is instrumental for the present investigation. Thus, no a priori theory isused to guide the empirical investigation. The second approach – empirically oriented –investigates fifty empirical cases, where the lack of needed information is clearly manifested.The results present an initial outline for a possible future theory of information inadequacy,constituted by the dichotomy of information-lack and information-overflow. Informationlackis dominated by: “information is non-existent”, “information is insufficient”, “information is censored” and “information is undelivered”. Whereas, information-overflow isdominated by: “information is ambiguous”, “information is redundant”, “information isirrelevant” and “information is undervalued”. The two main dichotomous characteristics andtheir interrelations result in patterns of various information inadequacies. The keyconclusion of the present study is that while dramatic situations are increasing everyday,there is as yet no theoretical body designed to comprehensively account for the phenomenonin context; only partial accounts are found. Thus, the empirical investigation suggests thatthe phenomenon of the lack of needed information seems to emerge because of diversefactors, ranging from political and cultural structures, through human individualcapabilities, and ending with procedural and technological artefacts. This study advocatesthat further research is needed to fully account for and explain instances of the lack ofneeded information, and that such an account requires an innovative and interdisciplinary focus.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Växjö: Linnaeus University , 2011. , 188 p.
Keyword [en]
information, information inadequacy, information lack, information overflow, hermeneutic approach, grounded theory approach
National Category
Computer and Information Science
Research subject
Computer and Information Sciences Computer Science, Information Systems
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-11864OAI: diva2:418618
2011-05-16, Tegner, Linnaeus University, Växjö, 14:15 (English)
Available from: 2011-05-25 Created: 2011-05-23 Last updated: 2013-03-21Bibliographically approved

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Kajtazi, Miranda
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