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Group cognition as a basis for supporting group knowledge creation and sharing

John T. Nosek (Professor of Computer & Information Sciences, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA (

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 1 August 2004


This paper explores how group cognition can provide a basis for understanding knowledge creation and sharing that does not depend on the assumption of extant internal representations that filter sense‐data. Literature from a wide variety of disciplines is synthesized to provide an ecologically‐oriented model of group cognition. Group cognition means moving away from idiosyncratic, subjective mental models of the world to the notion that agents with similar capacities to act can potentially discern similar action possibilities in the world. It changes the direction from discovery and alignment of mental models to selectivity calibration and informational structure sharing. “What one thinks” at a given moment is dependent on boundary objects available at the moment that predominately originate with human actors. Therefore, in this way, one’s cognition is predominately group cognition. Based on the breadth of the topic, this paper must be considered a work‐in‐progress, a snapshot of the exploration of such a complex subject. It provides an alternate view of knowledge creation and sharing as the basis for incorporating more effective collaboration functionality into technologies that support joint work. This paper challenges long‐held views of extant internal representations that filter sense‐data and offers a radically different ecological‐based model of group cognition.



Nosek, J.T. (2004), "Group cognition as a basis for supporting group knowledge creation and sharing", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 54-64.



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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited