In this panel, we will draw on Serge Moscovici’s theory of social representations to address these knowledge management challenges. Moscovici introduced and popularized the concept of social representations in the field of social psychology. His early definition of social representation is that of “the elaborating of a social object by the community for the purpose of behaving and communicating” (1963, p. 251). Social representations correspond to a socially shared set of common knowledge and ideas that agents elaborate and communicate to make sense of and act in their environment (Jodelet 1989b; Moscovici 1973, 1984; Vaast and Walsham 2005). Moscovici’s goal was to rehabilitate the ways that social psychologists understood common thinking and common knowledge. Common knowledge was usually considered to be inferior to scientific knowledge; however, Moscovici considered it to be an active and complex social reflexive process. To this end, he studied social representations as important phenomena (i.e., their structure and dynamics, and their role in language, communication, and understanding).
Boland, Richard; Davidson, Elizabeth; Pawlowski, Suzanne; Schultze, Ulrike; and Vaast, Emmanuelle, "Investigating the "Knowledge" in Knowledge Management: A Social Representations Perspective" (2005). ICIS 2005 Proceedings. 79.