Cultural Memory Posted by Bo Newman on March 08, 1998 at 02:27:13:
The following in a bead string that grew out a discussion earlier this year of way different conditions effect group dynamics. At some point in time the conversation turned to how some conditions can serve to dampen the propagation of ideas in the same way that changes in viscosity can change the propagation patterns of waves in a liquid. This lead us to explore some analogies between wave mechanics, group dynamics, and organizational memory. The combination of the core wave and Andy's reflections on ripples and how events in the past causes our lives to differentiate seem to tie into that earlier conversation.
I would like to offer our thoughts for your consideration. In keeping with bead string thinking, I have tried to capture the key thoughts and the order in which one lead to the other. No value or insight is claimed other than there seems to be potential for further exploration.
The medium is the environment within which behaviors can be perceived
The environment for a given behavior exists only at the time of the behavior.
The environment for behaviors includes applicable conceptual spaces.
The medium includes conceptual spaces
Behaviors are actions which change the state of the medium
Behaviors cause ripples in a medium like pebbles in a pond
Ripples from multiple behaviors create interference patterns
An interference pattern is made up of the sum (or difference) of the original ripples
Interference patterns are records of conceptual space
Interference patterns can not exist without the medium
Observations are made in the context of medium (conceptual space)
Observation of interference patterns includes a direct observation of the medium
Observation of interference patterns includes the result of the behaviors
That which can be observed, they can be retained (remembered)
Interference patterns are Cultural artifacts
Cultural artifacts retain aspects of the original behaviors as well as the medium
Retention or memory results in persistence for that which is retained.
Cultural artifacts are records of conceptual states and the results of behavior
Cultural artifacts are retained via organizational memory
Organization memory transcends time
Organization memory contributes to current conceptual space and behaviors
Cultural artifacts are part of our current (or future) conceptual spaces (medium)
Characteristics of the medium effect wave propagation and interference patterns
i.e - organizational memory is the means by which current mediums inherit aspects of past behaviors and conceptual spaces thus allowing past conceptual spaces and behaviors to influence current (and future) conceptual spaces and behaviors.
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