Conceptions of effective information use and learning in a tele-health organization: a phenomenographic study of information literacy and knowledge management at work.
Toledano O'Farrill, Ruben
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This research study investigates the concept of workplace information literacy (IL) theoretically and empirically, focusing on the connections between information literacy and knowledge management (KM). This dissertation examines the relevance and applicability of current IL frameworks in a workplace environment by means of a review of the literature, a review of NHS Scotland documentation on its KM initiatives, and a phenomenographic study undertaken with frontline staff at NHS24, a nurse-led, 24/7 service of NHS Scotland that provides over-the-phone consultation and health information. For that study, a working definition of IL as ‘effective information use’ was employed. The concept of information literacy has been developed mainly within librarianship, researched mainly within educational contexts and focused on individual competence in information use. While its application to workplace environments has been assumed, comparatively little research has been done into workplace situations. On the other hand, the concept of knowledge management is directed at a wider organizational level. However, while there is a clear focus in the KM literature on the value of information and its importance for organizations, little attention has been paid to the theoretical and empirical developments of Library and Information Science (LIS) relative to information behaviour and effective information use. The findings of this research identified limitations in the current IL frameworks, notably the lack of consideration for people’s exchanges of knowledge and information and of the social sense making that influences information interpretation and application. The findings endorse views of learning and information use grounded in socio-constructive perspectives and a consideration of context as situated practice. The conclusions suggest the need for more collaboration between studies of IL and information behaviour, and for LIS research to focus more on workplace studies and knowledge management.