Effect of the work environment on the communication of information in science

J. G. Smith

Abstract


The effect of the work environment on the communication of information in science is examined. The main characteristics that distinguish the communication of information in science and the conceptual issues that pertain to the process are circumscribed. The article is further based on data derived from an empirical study that investigated the communication of information among crystallographers in South Africa. The crystallographers conducted research in one of three work environments: universities, or research institutes, or R&D facilities in industry. The results strongly indicate that each work environment predicated distinct information communication behaviour patterns. Each group interacted differently with formal and informal communication systems, they used different channels of communication, they awarded different values to the role of conferences in the communication process, they used different methods to seek information to satisfy various information needs, and their research output varied. The clear differences in the demands of each work environment, the organizational structure and ethos of the employing institution, and the specific work activities that the crystallographers were engaged in, thus, all impacted on their information communication behaviour.

Die invloed van die werkomgewing op die kommunikasie van inligting in die natuurwetenskappe word bestudeer. Die hoofeienskappe wat die kommunikasie van inligting in die natuurwetenskappe onderskei en konseptuele aspekte wat betrekking het op die proses, word omskryf. Die artikel is gebaseer op data verkry van 'n empiriese studie wat die kommunikasie van inligting onder kristallograwe in een van drie werkomgewings - universiteite, navorsingsinstansies en industriee - in Suid-Afrika ondersoek het. Die resultate toon duidelik onderskeibare inligtingskommunikasiepatrone in elke werkomgewing: die wissel werking tussen formele en informele kommunikasiestelsels verskil by elke groep; verskillende kommunikasiekanale word gebruik; verskillende waardes word toegeken aan die rol wat konferensies in die kommunikasieproses speel; verskillende metodes word gebruik om inligting te verkry; en hul navorsinguitsette verskil. Die verskille in die eise van elke werkomgewing, die verskillende organisatoriese strukture, die etos van elke indiensnemende instansie en die spesifieke werkaktiwiteit waarby die kristallograwe betrokke is, het dus alles 'n impak gehad op hulle inligtingskommunikasiegedrag.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7553/65-1-1496

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