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  Monday, May 26, 2003

  Relational qualities that promote effective knowledge sharing

This is something that was on my "to blog" list for a long time: 

Knowing what we know: Supporting knowledge creation and sharing in social networks by Rob Cross, Andrew Parker, Laurence Prusak and Stephen P. Borgatti and earlier white paper with the same title.

These papers describe studies focused on analysing characteristics that promote effective knowledge sharing and then using those characteristics in social network analysis. Both papers are worth reading. The white paper provides a better overview of the study on characteristics of effective knowledge sharing. The journal article is more polished and packed with practical examples of SNA. 

Relational characteristics that promote effective knowledge sharing (research method described in the white paper; the following citations are from the journal article, page 105):

  • Knowing what another person knows

Knowing what someone else knows (even if we are initially inaccurate and calibrate over time) is a precursor to seeking a specific person out when we are faced with a problem or opportunity. For other people to be options we must have at least some perception of their expertise.

  • Access

However, knowing that someone else knows is only useful if you can get access to their thinking in a sufficiently timely fashion. Access is heavily influenced by the closeness of one's relationships as well as physical proximity, organisational design and collaborative technology.

  • Engagement

People who are helpful in learning interactions actively thinking with the seekers and engage in problem solving. Rather than dump information, these people first understand the problem as experiences by the seeker and then shape their knowledge to the problem at hand.

  • Safety

Finally, those relationships that are safe are often most effective for learning purposes. Being able to admit a lack of knowledge or to diverge in a conversation often results in creativity and learning.

Simple, powerful and research-based. Must-read for knowledge managers and interesting as a framework to think about weblogs as an environment for knowledge sharing.

[Sebastian, this is about knowledge sharing in a broader sense and includes learning side of it. I am curious to know if you can relate it to your research on weblogs and learning]

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© Copyright 2002-2005 Lilia Efimova.

This weblog is my learning diary. Sometimes I write about things related to my work, but the views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

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