Trust and Social Practice: an Epistemic Analysis of Organizational Knowledge
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In this dissertation, I will make two arguments, one examining overall goals and perspectives relating to knowledge and the other examining a particular approach to facilitating knowledge transfer. The first will be an argument about how epistemology, particularly the Social Epistemology project, ought to be considered in discussions of organizational knowledge. I will defend the idea that social practice is the best way to make philosophical sense of the dynamics of organizational knowledge, and that Communities-of-Practice are local examples of this phenomenon. I will appeal to Veritistic Social Epistemology, arguing that epistemologists and competitive organizations share similar goals relating to belief. The second argument will be a specific application of Social Epistemology to organizational knowledge. I will connect social practice to trust in organizations by explaining the role it plays in cooperation and effectiveness. I will look at its sociological, organizational, and philosophical impacts. Ultimately, I will reject the role of trust as a motivating factor for testimonial transmission of knowledge. Using these two arguments, I will advance a positive view about the nature of organizational knowledge. I will introduce a Local Reductionist view of testimony that makes practical and philosophical sense in the context of an organization.