The emergence of the Information Age imposed certain challenges on society, and in that regard, these challenges can enforce realities in which people have to cope with the unprecedented growth rate of information expansion (“Presidential Committee on Information Literacy: Final Report,” 1989).
Looking at these realities, the dependency on information today implies that being information literate is no longer a competitive advantage, rather than a certain standard, which can be considered as a requirement to succeed. Narrowing such a statement to the field of business, this paper argues that information literacy is an influential factor in such aspects as scholarship, practice, and leadership.
Analyzing scholarship in the context of higher education, where students’ performance can be directly related to information literacy, the absence of the latter can be identified through students lacking the skills to find, evaluate, and effectively use information (Zabel, 2004, p. 17). In that sense, the evaluation of the information can be considered as an important factor signifying information literacy.
As mentioned in Zabel (2004), students mostly rely on Internet as a primary source of information, a fact if combined with the result of a study indicating that “20 percent of college seniors never make a judgment about the quality of the information that they obtain from the Internet or other sources” (17), might signify that information literacy is about quality and credibility of the information used. In that regard, improving students’ skills should be connected to the educational curriculum, in which information literacy instructions should be delivered in a variety of ways, and with the assistance of librarians.
Specifically, in the context of business education, Zabel states that information literacy is essential to two core processes, which are problem-solving and strategic planning, whereas the development of the necessary skills in gathering the information is usually omitted or superficially covered in many textbooks (Zabel, 2004). In that regard, it can be argued that with the absence of such information-gathering skills, the quality of the research work connected to the aforementioned essential business processes can be highly in doubt.
Regarding the impact of information literacy on the ability to utilize the acquired knowledge in practice, it should be stated that knowledge implementation can be highly correlated with innovation and technology. It can be assumed that constant changes brought by innovations impose a corresponding need for adaptation to these changes. Such are of knowledge utilization can be defined as knowledge management, which is “the need for continuous learning of both codified information and the competencies to use this information” (Gregory-Mina, 2009).
The challenge of information literacy in today’s society solicits organizations to integrate scholarship and practice approaches which can be accomplished by acquiring a theoretical understanding and applying that understanding through practice (Gregory-Mina, 2009).
The practical dimension of information literacy can be seen through the seven categories identified in the book “Seven Faces of Information Literacy” by Christine Bruce, cited in Babu (2008), wherein addition to finding the information, executing processes, and controlling the information, the learner is building a personal database of knowledge, which can be extended so that novel insights are gained (Babu, 2008 p. 57).
Thus, the impact of information literacy on practice can be seen through complying with the standard set for information literate students, which is being able to organize information practically, integrate the information into new knowledge, and apply the information in critical thinking and problem solving (Babu, 2008 p. 59). Accordingly, taking the issue of information literacy’s significance in practice from a global perspective, Lauer and Yodanis (2004) outlined the impact of global literacy as having “confidence, knowledge, and skills needed to apply sociological concepts, theories, and questions to societies different from their own and to develop their sociological understanding based on the cross-national differences or similarities that are found” (304).
The aspect of leadership can be also connected to information literacy, specifically in terms of knowledge management and connecting and sharing the expertise and knowledge among people. Knowledge dissemination is outlined as a critical factor for “inspiring visionary thinking and developing future leaders” (Gregory-Mina, 2009).
Information literacy can be influential in the context of an essential requirement of a successful leader, as well as in the context of a necessary set of skills that would help develop such a leader. The argument of a successful leader can be seen through the responsibility of the leader for knowledge management, knowledge dissemination, and the encouragement of followers to seek new knowledge (Gregory-Mina, 2009). In that sense, it can be seen that the same information-gathering skills should be applied in this context, to fulfill these responsibilities.
In the context of business, information literacy is an essential aspect, which not only helps people overcome the difficulties of finding, evaluating, and using the information. In achieving the latter, by teaching information instruction to develop information gathering skills required for an information literate individual. Accordingly, the paper demonstrated that information literacy positively affects scholarship, practice, and leadership, through raising the quality of the obtained information, applying the information in critical thinking and problem solving and promoting the development of leaders as well as helping them manage their responsibilities in the organization.
Babu, B. R. (2008 ). Information Literacy—Competency Standards and Performance Indicators: An Overview. Journal of Library & Information Technology, 28(2), 56-65.
Gregory-Mina, H. J. (2009). Four Leadership Theories Addressing Contemporary Leadership Issues as the Theories Relate to the Scholarship, Practice, and Leadership Model. Academic Leadership: The Online Journal, 7(3). Web.
Lauer, S. R., & Yodanis, C. L. (2004). The International Social Survey Programme (Issp): A Tool for Teaching With an International Perspective*. Teaching Sociology, 32(3), 304-313.
Presidential Committee on Information Literacy: Final Report (1989). Association of College & Research Libraries. Web.
Zabel, D. (2004). A reaction to “information literacy and higher education”. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 30(1), 17-21.