Knowledge processes and information quality in open data context: conceptual considerations and empirical findings

Author : Matti Keränen

In this thesis, the knowledge processes of firms using open weather data and information from Finnish Meteorological Institute are studied. The goal is to describe and understand the knowledge processes and factors contributing to open data use, and at the same time, describe how information quality intertwines in these processes.

The theoretical framework builds on the knowledge management concept of absorptive capacity describing knowledge processes in firms. Explicit and tacit knowledge as well as practical knowledge and their different epistemological premises are noted in the framework.

As a third theoretical component, information quality is defined as both technical property of artifacts and a constructive concept of shared meaning between the data provider and user.

The research process included semi-structured interviews of five firms using open data and an abductive analysis of the empirical material. The outcome is a knowledge management based interpretation of the firms’ knowledge processes, contributing factors and information quality in the open data context.

Firms select different roles and thereby different knowledge domains when exploiting open data. The exploitation process is multidimensional including elements absorbed from the technical domain, weather information and local context.

The technical quality of information is defined dynamically in different phases of exploitation, while quality as a constructive concept is defined in the exploitation process where different knowledge domains intersect.