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Title: A model of factors affecting professional workers' information behaviours within the context of valuing organisational information
Author: Silburn, Nicholas L. J.
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2013
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The purpose of this research was to develop a model of factors influencing professional workers' information behaviours within the context of seeing information as a valuable organisational asset. To achieve the purpose, the research set out to answer four questions. What was meant by the value of information, what information related behaviours might be associated with acknowledging information as valuable, how might the behaviours be influenced in the workplace, and how were influencing factors related to the information behaviours. The research came about because of apparent gaps in the literature, particularly around a lack of appropriate models of information behaviour associated with professionals in the workplace and information being seen as valuable (useful, important, of worth and of benefit) by the organisation. The increasing legal and regulatory environment, the expansion of information management standards and the increasing pervasiveness of computer technology add to the mix of how information behaviours might be supported, encouraged or hindered. The literature review looked at articles from the behaviour, information systems, library and information science, and value of information literature. It identified a number of key models from these literature pools that provided some of the information behaviours (such as information seeking, retrieval, use and sharing) and potential influencing factors (for example computer technology, the information behaviours of others, personal values and beliefs, and job design), but found there was no apparent literature that combined these information behaviours and the influences upon them, into a single workplace-related model. The output from the literature review was a conceptual model supported by a set of propositions. The primary research was carried out in two parts, within a pragmatist philosophical position. An initial phase, · using semi-structured in-depth interviews, looked at professionals' interpretations of the value of information and some of the information · behaviours that might be associated with valuing information. From this, a slightly revised version of the conceptual model was produced. A second phase of research was carried out based on the revised conceptual model and using a combination of semi-structured in-depth interviews with repertory grid work. Textual, graphical and numerical data was analysed using repertory grid cluster analysis, and thematic coding. The research found a consistent approach to defining the value of information - valuable information was seen as being useful, important, of some worth, and of benefit. Seven physical behaviours were identified as being relevant to showing that information is valuable. Some twenty influencing factors were identified, with evidence from the interviews supporting those identified from the literature, and other factors being new. A life-cycle relationship was identified for some of the behaviours, whilst the others were identified as information governance behaviours that supported the life-cycle behaviours. Some of the factors were found to have relationships with other factors, as well as with the behaviours. This led to a model being created where some factors could be described as independent variables, whilst others acted as moderating or mediating variables on the relationships of other factors with the information behaviours. Conclusions from .the research included that the information behaviours of professional workers could be influenced by a variety of people, organisational, technology and environmental factors. The model developed can serve as a basis for organisations to improve various facets of the organisation to encourage the treatment of information as a more valuable organisational asset. The contribution of this research to the literature is the development of a model of information behaviours of professional workers, and the factors that influence such behaviours. There is also a contribution to use of the repertory grid literature through the specific way the method was employed. The research took a wholly inductive approach to model building and the subsequent model created can be used as a basis for others to explore this topic in more detail, either inductively or deductively.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available