Serena Chiarle

Social network applications to knowledge management

  • Abstract

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Recent studies have demonstrated how social connections in which are inserted economical actors cover a fundamental role for what concerns knowledge management; so, in order to improve effectiveness and efficiency of business processes, we can no longer be focused only on the single actor, but we must learn to manage interconnected resources. Social networks' principle meets this demand with two kinds of applications: ONA analysis, a software supported methodology which creates maps of Human Resources of the organization in order to visualize the communication's fluxes among the nodes and remodel the hierarchy's structure in order to exploit the spontaneous relations among the actors; and the virtual learning communities, based on the principle that "learning means partecipating", in order to activate also the peripherical knowledges and share the experiences. In the article we are going to introduce concrete examples of these applications and new hypothesis for the future. The article developes the following issues: 1) The concept of Knowledge Management e the Social Capital Theory: why the latter is important for the former; 2) The ONA analysis (Organization Network Analysis): visualization of the maps of the human resources, of communication fluxes, of experts and opinion leaders, of bottle necks, of spontaneous communities, of the nodes that are not connected with knowledge exchange. How using data collected through ONA and how to be able to exploit what has emerged with the anlysis; 3) Examples of ONA software: InFlow and Social Software; 4) Virtual learning communities: importance of partecipation for the learning of the single person and importance of the partecipation of the single person for the learning of the whole community. Activation of peripherical knowledges and experiences sharing; 5) Concrete cases: Xerox's Eureka and Expert Exchange. Their limits and potentialities. Hypothesis for the future.

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