Doctoral Degrees (Information Science)

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 12
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    The use of enterprise social networks for social support within virtual teams
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-12) Henry, Michael Stephen; Le Roux, Daniel Bartholomeus; Parry, Douglas A.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Information Science.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY: Communication within organisations has become increasingly virtual, and this increased virtuality has brought more opportunities for distributed work. At the team level, increased distributedness resulted in virtual teams – teams separated by geographic and/or temporal distance. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual teams have become increasingly common and, as a result, there exists a need to understand the communication practices and the implications of these practices for individual team member’s well-being. Enterprise social networks (ESNs) like Slack and Microsoft Teams are a central tool for communication in virtual teams. In particular, ESNs are frequently used to communicate social support among team members. Social support has been associated with a wide range of individual well-being outcomes, making it suitable for examining the effects of ESN use within virtual teams. To this end, this dissertation addresses a single primary objective: Investigate the relationship between social support and ESN use within virtual teams. The objective was addressed through a literature review followed by a three-phase mixed-methods empirical study. The academic literature was explored by completing a systematic review. The review identified the current state of research concerning ESNs, virtual teams, and social support including the integration of those findings across fields. Informed by the results of the systematic review, two research questions were developed for the empirical work and a mixed-methods research design was implemented. First, a qualitative analysis of messages within team channels in an ESN was conducted to examine enacted support behaviours. Building on this, Phase Two involved interviews of distributed workers who use ESNs to identify their enactment and perceptions of social support. In Phase Three a quantitative survey was distributed to corroborate and generalise the results of Phases One and Two. The empirical work resulted in findings from each phase as well as two metainferences: an ESN locations taxonomy and an integrative framework for virtual team social support enactment within ESNs. Findings included the use of messages, threads, and emoji reactions for expressing specific types of social support, such as the use of threads for informational and appraisal support. Expressions of support varied based on location within ESNs (e.g. announcement channels compared to direct messages). Emotional support expressions tended to occur in private locations, including within watercooler interest group channels and private team channels. Descriptive statistical results as well as correlations between various types of ESN use and perceived social support were found in Phase Three. The study produced several artefacts usable by future researchers: a framework for examining distributed work (Chapter 2), a taxonomy for enacted social support within ESNs (Chapter 7), a taxonomy of ESN locations (Chapter 10), and an integrated framework for virtual team social support enactment within ESNs (Chapter 10). An interview guide has been included for future research on ESN use within virtual teams, as has a survey instrument which measures the frequency of ESN location use and enacted social support within ESNs.
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    Modelling knowledge security : knowledge security as a knowledge management problem
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-12) Shear, Christopher James; Watson, Bruce W.; Van der Walt, Martin; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Information Science.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY : For today’s organisations, knowledge has become a highly valuable resource, one that is often critical for competitive success. As such, a variety of methods and approaches have surfaced in recent decades, coalescing into what has become known as knowledge management (KM). The purpose of KM is largely focused on using various mechanisms and technologies to promote the discovery, capture, sharing and application of knowledge to derive value. Yet, while many studies address how knowledge should be leveraged more openly, fewer have focused on how best to secure it. This poses a risk to organisations, due to the increasing complexity of the intelligence-gathering mechanisms employed by those seeking to gain this knowledge for their advantage. In response, the idea of knowledge security has emerged as a mechanism to counter this risk. From an academic perspective, it has largely been grounded in information security theory. This has occurred because of the convergence that has taken place between information systems and KM, with security having taken a largely explicit focus. While beneficial in some ways, this approach is also somewhat problematic for a couple of reasons. Firstly, knowledge can extend beyond the explicit and is often found in intangible tacit forms, which may not be covered by taking a pure information security-driven approach. Thus, not having a comprehensive understanding of the measures needed to secure organisational knowledge at each dimension of KM activity, and vice versa, can make knowledge more vulnerable to compromise. Secondly, this creates a dichotomy between KM activity, predominantly centred on the amplification and distribution of knowledge and current security practices, which aim to limit and control access to processes. It is also a symptom indicative of the deeper question about knowledge in organisations, in terms of how it should best be retained, protected, and managed, in a balanced manner. Thus, the study focuses on overcoming this discrepancy by imposing the meta-question of knowledge security upon KM theory. The objective of the research is to advance the body of knowledge, by contributing to it in the form of a better understanding of how knowledge security can be conceptualised as a KM problem and be presented as a model. It is hoped that in doing so, it will set the foundation for future research on this topic and that it will contribute to solidifying knowledge security as part of the broader set of KM processes. To achieve these research objectives, the research design is structured to focus on three components. The first is a theoretical analysis centred on an examination of the literature related to organisational knowledge, KM, and knowledge security. The second is an empirical analysis focused on identifying the relationship between security and knowledge in practice. The third is combining the insights gained from the first two components and using these inputs to design a conceptual model outlining the relationship between knowledge security and KM. This process culminated in the development of a conceptual model of knowledge security that highlights its relationship with KM.
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    Formal concept analysis applied to pattern matching and automata
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-03) Venter, Frederick Johannes; Watson, B. W.; Kourie, D. G.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Information Science.
    ENGLISH ASBSTRACT: This thesis explores the use of formal concept analysis (FCA) to solve pattern matching problems conventionally solved by techniques based on finite au-tomata (FAs). The problems examined in some detail are 2D pattern matching of rectilinear objects, pattern matching on multiple keywords and construction of failure FAs. In addition, broad FCA based approaches to solving problems are proposed that address non-deterministic FA to deterministic FA reduction and that address acyclic deterministic FA pattern matching. Overall, the the-sis illustrates that many of these pattern matching problems are amenable to solutions based on FCA. However, the formal concept lattice built to solve any of these problems will invariably encapsulate more information than what is needed to solve the particular problem at hand. While this might be space/ time inefficient, it might also represent an opportunity to be exploited for associated problems. Neither of these matters are empirically explored in the thesis.
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    Van Homo na sapiens: Die evolusionere rol van religie in die ontwikkeling van die mens
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2021-03) Troskie, Sandra; Craffert, Pieter F.; Watson, Bruce W.; Van den Heever, Jurie; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Information Science.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Studies in the health sciences have found overwhelming evidence for a positive correlation between religious practice and the life quality and life expectancy of religious practitioners. Given the strong indications that religious practice affects the way in which the brain processes feelings, one may reasonably assume that the processes of evolution have selected for religion because religious beliefs and behaviour has enabled the practitioner to cultivate his or her inner world of feelings to the benefit of personal wellbeing. If this is the case, these studies offer scientific support for one of the most common claims of religious traditions around the world, namely that unbridled feelings pose a threat to the welfare of both self and society. The fundamental problem with this assumption, however, is the fact that etiological and primatological research shows that feelings are not unique to humans, but are in fact physiological states shared by several social species. This is a strong indication that evolution has probably selected for feelings because these dispositions promotes the welfare of some social species. The question to ask is therefore why it is that humans are the only species for whom the processes of evolution found it advantageous to select for attributes that would enable us to cultivate not only our external environments, but also the inner worlds of our feelings? This question underpins the ultimate goal of this thesis, which is to utilise religion as a lens for conducting a neuro-cultural enquiry into the processes by which an "anatomical, neurological, genetic, physiological ape”, in the words of prominent neuroscientist Vilayanur Subramanian Ramachandran, becomes human. The focus is thus not on religion as a cultural phenomenon, but rather on what the emergence of this phenomenon — and its impact on both our evolution and personal wellbeing—reveals about the nature and existence of human life.
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    Media multitasking and cognitive control : assessing the feasibility of an intervention requiring the self-regulation of smartphone use
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2019-12) Parry, Douglas Anderson; Le Roux, Daniel B.; Bantjes, Jason; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Information Science.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY : Increasingly our personal, work, and social contexts are characterised by engagements with communications media. Adapting to and coping in this hyper-connected world has cultivated high levels of media multitasking —the simultaneous use of one medium alongside other media or non-media activities. Over the preceding decade researchers have investigated possible associations between media multitasking and changes in cognitive control. While extant research is characterised by both convergent and divergent findings, overall, current evidence supports the suggestion that those who frequently engage in media multitasking are more likely to underperform relative to lighter media multitaskers in a number of cognitive domains. In particular, research suggests that media multitasking is negatively associated with attentional capacities, working memory, task-switching ability, and interference management. In response to calls for investigations considering the remedial efficacy of interventions targeting media multitasking and related cognitive effects the study presented in this dissertation endeavoured, firstly, to investigate existing behavioural interventions targeting cognitive outcomes associated with media multitasking; secondly, to develop a novel media multitasking intervention; and, thirdly, to assess the feasibility of this intervention for a student population. To address the study objectives a three-phase mixed-methods investigation was executed. Owing to the interdisciplinary nature of research in this domain, the first phase involved reviewing relevant literature from cognitive psychology, media and communication, and social informatics to provide a conceptual foundation for the phases to follow. Subsequently, building on theories of behaviour, cognition, media use, and self-regulation the patterns and drivers of media multitasking were considered and summarised through the provision of an integrative model of media multitasking behaviour. While not empirically tested in this study, the model, as a summary of previous research, guided the subsequent intervention evaluations. The phase concluded with an evaluation of the current state of research into associations between media multitasking and cognitive control. In phase two a systematic review methodology was adopted to consider previous interventions targeting the effects of media multitasking on executive functioning. This review aimed to determine, firstly, the nature of interventions assessed, secondly, the efficacy of these interventions in terms of both behaviour change and changes in outcomes related to cognitive control and, finally, to identify the factors affecting implementation. At the time of review interventions fell into three categories: awareness, restriction, and mindfulness. While some were shown to have been effective at changing behaviour or cognitive outcomes, no single category contains interventions which, categorically, produced improvements in attention-related performance. Extending from this synthesis key research gaps are identified, with suggestions for future research proposed. In the third phase, informed by the outcomes of the review and the theoretical basis established in phase one, a novel media multitasking intervention was developed. To produce rich insights into the feasibility of the proposed intervention and related aspects of behaviour with technology, a mixed-methods design involving the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data was implemented. Specifically, to assess the demand, acceptability, implementation, and efficacy dimensions of feasibility, the pre/post design involved the collection of quantitative data relating to media multitasking, demographics, cognitive control, everyday executive functioning, and intervention-application, as well as qualitative interview data relating to experiences and impressions of the intervention. Following from these methods the overall feasibility of the intervention was analysed. While the implementation and demand dimensions of the intervention were regarded to be feasible, acceptability was shown to be only partially feasible. Moreover, for the intended outcomes, the intervention was shown not to be effective. No evidence to support the targeted improvements in cognitive control ability were found. Despite this, the intervention was seen to bring about behavioural changes and engender increased instances of single-tasking. This was seen to be a positive outcome and prompts consideration of the differences between state-level effects and trait-level effects. Consequently, it is proposed that, as an intervention targeting improvements in cognitive control, the assessed procedures are not feasible but, as an intervention targeting alignment between media behaviour and longer-term goals, preliminary support for its feasibility was shown. While many of the findings are particularly nuanced and open up new questions, the outcomes hold a number of important implications for research and practice in a variety of domains. The study findings are of interest because of their relevance for research concerning media multitasking interventions, associations between media multitasking and cognitive control and, more generally, behaviour with technology.