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ISSN 2587-814X (print),
ISSN 2587-8158 (online)

Russian version: ISSN 1998-0663 (print),
ISSN 2587-8166 (online)

Tatiana Gavrilova 1, Artem Alsufyev 1, Elvira Grinberg 1
  • 1 Saint-Petersburg University, 3, Volkhovsky Pereulok, St. Petersburg, 199004, Russian Federation

Knowledge visualization: Critique of the St. Gallen School and an analysis of contemporary trends

2017. No. 3 (41). P. 7–19 [issue contents]

Tatiana A. Gavrilova - Professor, Head of Department of Information Technologies in Management, Saint-Petersburg University
Address: 3, Volkhovsky Pereulok, St. Petersburg, 199004, Russian Federation
E-mail: gavrilova@gsom.pu.ru

Artem I. Alsufyev - Assistant Professor, Department of Organizational Behavior and Personnel Management, Saint-Petersburg University
Address: 3, Volkhovsky Pereulok, St. Petersburg, 199004, Russian Federation
E-mail: alsufyev@gsom.pu.ru

Elvira Y. Grinberg - Doctoral Student, Department of Information Technologies in Management, Saint-Petersburg University
Address: 3, Volkhovsky Pereulok, St. Petersburg, 199004, Russian Federation
E-mail: st057454@student.spbu.ru

      The purpose of this article is the analysis of leading European research in the field of knowledge visualization from the point of view of the accumulated theoretical base, practice of application, problems, and trends.
      The need for digital business transformation for survival in the era of high-speed, mobile intelligent applications and big data has become apparent. However, understanding and interpretation of information can be performed only by humans. Modern managers cope with information “explosion” through visualization. Visualization helps them to understand, to compress and to demonstrate the ocean of numbers, words, and ideas. The number of works devoted to the theme of visualization is growing every year. There are numerous studies on the visualization of networks and relationships, and visualization of communication with a consumer. Fewer articles have been devoted to the visualization of knowledge in the implementation of business practices. At the same time, scientists are examining one specific area of application of visualization and only a few contribute to the theory of the subject and study it in a versatile manner. The latter include the works of researchers from the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland), which we call in this article the St. Gallen School.
      We propose systematization of the following basic stages of research formation of the aforementioned School: 1) the preliminary stage, 2) the stage of empirical data accumulation, and 3) the stage of theory development. The School’s contribution to the theory and practice of management was analyzed. Its contribution to theory includes the classification of visualization techniques, a description of visualization use in business, the development of the boundary objects theory, as well as a detailed description of experimental studies. Contribution to business practices means implementation of educational projects and the development of new visual models. The fragmented nature of research is identified: theoretical work is focused on how several visual models influence the implementation of certain business practices; empirical work often describes consulting projects, but do not provide an understanding of how to apply visualization techniques when there is no researcher-consultant.
      Based on our analysis of the literature, we demonstrate that the major trend in information processing is focus on knowledge representation based on data, not data as such. The challenging areas related to applied research methods are highlighted as follows: lack of consistency, and lack of distinction between the concepts of “data visualization” and “knowledge visualization”. Thus, there is a need to distinguish visualization of knowledge in a separate area of study.

This work was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (grant No. 15-18-30048)

Citation: Gavrilova T.A., Alsufyev A.I., Grinberg E.Y. (2017) Knowledge visualization: Critique of the St. Gallen School and an analysis of contemporary trends. Business Informatics , no. 3 (41), pp. 7–19. DOI: 10.17323/1998-0663.2017.3.7.19
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