#CiteULike

The tagging system I created for my collection of references on citeulike remained consistent throughout the semester and consisted of three highly unique but equally important series of labels.  The firs of these labels were the course label tag, which if or this course would list knowledge. The course label is used to differentiate articles added from other course in the past of future. In fact, I actually used a few references that pertained  to previous courses and used their course label tags respectively. The two other course labels tags consisted of  health – for consumer health information and community – for community and information studies. 

The second label following the course label is that of the grouping label tag. The grouping tag helps narrow the articles who remind under the same course label into fewer subtitles. Some of the grouping tags I used were organization(s) – for articles discussing KM within the context of organizational communication and information and management – which helped differentiate article which discussed/analyzed KM theory with no particular frame or even within a variety of contexts.

The third and final subtitle label as a part of tagging system was the detail tag. The detail tag was used to separate each individual article apart from both the second tier grouping label as well as the first tier course label. So examples of third tier detail tags were creation- for articles discussing how knowledge is created, transfer – for articles analyzing the ways in which knowledge is transferred, and social – for articles explain the social processes involved in knowledge management. 

In many ways the tagging system I concocted is highly simplistic. However, the system proved to be incredibly useful as I was initially organizing the articles and then referencing the same articles in bog posts later on in the semester. As my reference list began to grow I would undoubtedly adjust this system to accommodate to a higher number of articles. I general I really enjoyed the organizational nature of citeulike. It is by far a much more useful tool compared to the way I would have attempted to organize the same files in a folder on my desktop. This way I have access to theses references anywhere I go. My only concluding thought is that I found the tool extremely helpful and appreciated being  introduced to citeulike. My only regret is not being introduced early in my undergrad career. I was truly and utterly derived of organizational gold.

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The eXo Generation

Ever since I was first introduced the concept of culture I was hooked. During my undergrad, I studied organization culture and at every opportunity focused my attention on this intrigue. There was something there, something in the midst of this field of study that had a sense of wonder. Maybe it was the fact that there was so much diversity. Organizational culture was never the same. there were always unique traditions, and storytelling frameworks, and highly diverse visual indicators. Without getting too off base, the topic of organizational culture is, and you guessed it, the topic for this blog as well as my final paper. My thinking has always been how technology has given us a new generation of organizational culture. We now communicate cross culturally, and with the widening distribution of knowledge management software and technology this become an easier and easier task for individuals all over the world.

The continuous advancement of globally networked technology has generated not only widespread content distribution but has also fostered the development of online/virtual communities. The anonymous nature of communication across the Internet offers individuals a heightened sense of confidence when searching for content and connecting with others regarding health related topics. Suddenly people from around the globe can now interact, share ideas, and provide support to others without ever having to leave the security of their homes. Such transformative change has now propelled knowledge management to heights it may have truly never expected.

Evaluating global group formation, intercultural networking roles and cross cultural decision making is without question a fascinating study of human behavior and interaction. Even more fascinating is the idea of establishing a global group culture and how the development of a cross cultural organizational culture can either lead to the remarkable success or ultimate demise of the group at hand.

There is a lot of research that describes an organization as a tribe, with its own language, hierarchy, ceremonies, customs and beliefs, I couldn’t help but relate these group culture characteristics to an organization I focused on in my final paper. The organization in question, is actually and cross cultural KM platform, the eXo Platform. eXo’s website provides a statement to describe the various capabilities and goals for individuals interested in joining the tribe.

“eXo Platform is ideal for building an online community of customers, partners or fans. You can provide them with discussion forums, collaborative FAQs and polls. Build topic-oriented sub communities or workgroups using spaces. Engage with your members via social networking. Send them email notifications to keep them coming back. Promote your products or services through the built-in web content management capabilities.” (exoplatform.com)

The idea is to see the eXo platform as a new generational shift. This platform is one of many that incorporate the capabilities to breakdown language barriers and offer the interface for users to share ideas and solutions with others within this online tribe like setting. Theses kind of platforms will undoubtedly continue to grow and become more encompassing and even easier to use. I can online imagine how much knowledge management will change in the very near future.

Reference:

eXoplatform.com. Open source Enterprise social collaboration software by eXo Platform.
(n.d.). Retrieved April 08, 2016.

All Aboard the Knowledge Express…Next Stop Communication Station

The Communication Infrastructure Theory has always been theory that has peaked my interest. With the various facets of knowledge management now in mind, analyzing this theory once more could help draw an even deeper understand of both field. Much of theory focuses a healthy portion of explanation on the importance of storytelling networks which exists in coordination within the communication infrastructure of a community. This infrastructure includes a communication action context which is described as the dimensions of openness and closedness. These dimensions are not only physical by nature but are also determined on a sociocultural, psychological, economic, and technological basis.

“Individuals and communities are situated in different environments – some environments afford easy connections to necessary and useful communication resources, while others make it difficult to access resources to achieve individual and community goals.” (Hayden & Ball-Rokeach, 2007, p.204).

This quote in particular sparked my own thoughts on our society of present day existing within the ever accessible Internet age. It would seem as though that with each passing year information and resources become more and more accessible to more and more of society. The process does initially have a slower trickle down effect for certain areas of both urban and rural areas, but in the grander scheme of society the idea that people are truly denied access to resources and information to build and maintain a healthy communication infrastructure is in many ways an arguable notion.

However, in regards to environments where there are implicit and explicit levels of trust, as well as mistrust, connections could in fact be limited. Even more so in environments where a crisis has occurred. Both of the environments are explained further in articles by Wasko and Faraj (2005) and Ibrahim and Allen (2005).

I have blogged about several other branches of virtual communities and how they play into knowledge management processes but I have yet to explain what Wasko and Faraj (2005) refer to as networks of practice. Much of these networks communicative tendencies involve open and voluntary communication with strangers. Wasko and Faraj (2005) explain,

“Knowledge seekers have no control over who responds to their questions or the quality of the responses. Knowledge contributors have no assurances that those they are helping will ever return the favor, and lurkers may draw upon the knowledge of others without contributing anything in return.” (p. 37)

This same shroud of ambiguity between knowledge seekers and knowledge contributors can be seen in instances of crisis. Ibrahim and Allen (2005) provide an example of crisis management and how crisis responders face similar challenges compared to individuals who are a part of networks of practice…

“Trust takes time to develop whereas emergency responders may be assembled in an ad hoc manner, and some team members may not have necessarily known or worked with each other long enough for trust to develop.” (p. 1918)

The Communication Infrastructure Theory is highly applicable to everyday life and offers a lens in order to better understand and interpret community behavior and knowledge management trends. The connections to both trust and crisis management also proved to be very interesting. It’s still pretty amazing how many theories and concepts connect to one another and I’m sure I will discover even more to come.

References:

Wasko, M. M. and Faraj, S. (2005). Why should i share? examining social capital and knowledge contribution in electronic networks of practice. MIS Quarterly, 29(1):35-57.

Hassan Ibrahim, N. and Allen, D. (2012). Information sharing and trust during major incidents: Findings from the oil industry. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 63(10):1916-1928.

Hayden, C. and Ball-Rokeach, S. J. (2007). Maintaining the digital hub: locating the community technology center in a communication infrastructure. New Media & Society, 9(2):235-257.

Weick, K.E., & Roberts, K.H. (1993). Collective mind in organizations: Heedful interrelating on flight decks. Administrative Science Quarterly, 38(3), 357–381.

The More You Know: Brokerage Connections

Brokerage connections occur when individuals build connections between otherwise unconnected people. These types of connections in turn produce a more diverse basis of opinions and resources since members of these groups are less likely to reinforce existing opinions. Closure connections, however, occur when the focal person of a group connects others who are already connected among themselves. Contrary to brokerage connections, when individuals are involved in closure connections individuals display a higher probability to reinforce existing opinions and behaviors due to the established relationships already in place.

As with many articles, I have a tendency to construct a slightly critical analysis of the theories and ideas presented by the authors. With the definitions of brokerage and closure connections in mind, I couldn’t help but ask myself if these observations are always upheld the same way in the the real world. Take for instance the development of interpersonal relationships in an organizational community setting, which are in many ways what these definitions are most applicable to.

Brokerage connections seem to be inherently more beneficial given the diversity of knowledge and information that is spread through the respective network. While I do not necessarily disagree with this behavior, my train of thought extends beyond the initial interaction. What happens when a brokerage connection develops to the point that it is no longer a brokerage connection but instead it becomes a closure connection based on the relationships that are inevitably created over time?

Szulanski (1996) may have the answer. His study analyzes the internal stickiness of knowledge transfer within an organization. Transfers of best practice within an organization are said to be seen as dyadic exchanges of organizational knowledge between a source and a recipient unit (p. 28). The initiation stage of intra-firm transfers is where the KM excitement ramps up. At this time, Szulanski explains both a need and the knowledge to meet that need must coexist within the organization. This kind of initiation is a nice example of where a brokerage connection would develop. Towards the end of the knowledge transfer cycle would be where this initial brokerage connection would develop into a closure connection. As a part of Szulanski’s model, this would occur during the integration stage where,

“… a shared history of jointly utilizing the transferred knowledge is built up in the recipient, actions and actors become typified, and types of actions are associated with types of actors” (p. 29).

Discovering this connection was interesting and helped to develop a slightly more widened perspective for both respective concepts. It would be ideal to apply this to the organization where I currently work. It would be fascinating to see these stages and connections first person as new employees are brought in and trained with organization know how. Studying the overarching organizational dynamics during these stages and connections would also provide an interesting focus for future research. Who knows, maybe there are still connections to be uncovered.  As for now however, this is only a concluding thought, but could possibly provide the necessary motivation for courses to follow.

References:

Shen, C., Monge, P., and Williams, D. (2014). Virtual brokerage and closure. Communication Research, 41(4):459-480.

Kleinbaum, A. M. (2012). Organizational misfits and the origins of brokerage in intrafirm networks. Administrative Science Quarterly, 57(3):407-452.

Szulanski, G. (1996). Exploring internal stickiness: Impediments to the transfer of best practice within the firm. Strategic Management Journal, 17(S2):27-43.

The Virtual Know How

Writing about virtual communities’ and how it applies to knowledge management motivated me to dive a bit deeper. Calhoun (1998) writes extensively about the rise of virtual communities and how this rise has affected our definition and characterization of community as a whole. He describes how a transformation is taking place, a transformation of community and political activity generated from the enhanced connectivity now available to Internet users. Calhoun also discusses the various questions, both necessary and cautionary, that arise from the vast changes that have taken place since the Internet came online. And in some instances, how we may begin to ask the wrong questions. Calhoun suggests that our critical thinking should begin with the study of communities and then focus our attention on the computer mediated communication within them. As Calhoun (1998) explains, when we reverse this process, and begin our study of CMC and then on the communities within them, we lead ourselves into a biased perspective.

With this highly intriguing style of critical thinking in mind I began to create and evaluate new questions of my own. My initial thoughts focused on my foremost example of community, being the conceptualization of family. Family communication and knowledge sharing has without a doubt experienced transformations over the last decade, especially in terms of long distance communication and knowledge management. This transformation is, of course due in part to the rise and wide spread availability of personal Internet accessible devices such as cell hones and laptop computers. In fact, it would be accurate to say families are more connected and share more knowledge now than ever before.

Some could argue that because this connectivity is largely communicative the emotional and physical levels of connectivity are left unfulfilled. While I do not disagree with this notion, I do believe that technology is beginning to blur the line between face to face interpersonal communication and computer mediated interpersonal communication. My case in point being the growing use of “Facetime” technology currently installed on the majority of handheld wireless communicative devices (i.e. cell phones, iPads, etc.).

It would seem as though the advancement of “Facetime” technology has begun to transcend previously conceived notions of electronically mediated communication and knowledge management. Dahlberg (2001) introduces the discourse of this argument quite well. Simply stated, electronically mediated communication is known to cancel out the true nature of the human encounter and thus degrades the interaction as a whole. Without a grounded identity present, the opportunity for a meaningful association diminishes along with any obligation for “actual bodily commitment” (p. 9). While this may be true in our online political discourse, analyzing electronically meditated communication with present day technology would, in my belief, render a much different conclusion with a familial lens of study.

We now live in an age where family members can interact face-to-face without any burden of time or space. The concluding question of this blog is if this type of interaction requires an “actual bodily commitment” even across virtual space creates a more meaningful interaction for the users compared to the long accustomed telephone conversation and would knowledge management be adversely affected. This is certainly a significant communicative transformation for familial communities and an area of study I would be interested to find more about.

References:

Calhoun, C. (1998). Community with propinquity revisited: Communications technology   and the transformation of the urban public sphere. Sociological Inquiry, 68 (3), 373-393.

Dahlberg, L. (2001). Computer mediated communication and the public sphere: a critical anlaysis. JCMC, 1-26.

To Knowledge Management and Beyond

The evolution to take place over the last twenty years has been highly noteworthy in regards to how technology has changed the ways in which knowledge management is interfaced with consumers everyday. While published literature still has grounds for maintaining a level of significant influence, new forms of online information sharing have begun to emerge more prominently during the last decade of the Internet and information sharing age.

For this blog, I’ve again decided to connect some research I have previously conducted for other courses in an attempt to bring together several notions which all relate to KM. Technology has progressively become more entwined with our daily existence and overall way of life with each successive generation. User centered technologies have become increasingly accessible replacing “static internet resources” with tweeting, blogging, and numerous other forms of online socializing in a highly active and networked environment. As stated by Susannah Fox from Huber and Gillaspy (2011),

“The Internet now is not just information. There is a social life of information online. And people are using all these tools to connect with friends and family, to connect with (health) professionals. And people are accessing a much deeper level of information now than they were five years ago.” (p. 423)

Virtual communities focusing on health related topics and many other social issues are becoming more and more prevalent. Just as I was more comfortable talking with my mom about our asthma conditions, rather than my friends who I felt wouldn’t understand, online communities bring people together and create a comfortable and safe communicative environment. In many ways both online and traditional communities function in “virtually” the same way. At their center they combine content and communication to bring people together, facilitate the exchange of information and the creation of knowledge. These user centered virtual outlets have revolutuonized the ways in which society searches for and shares knowledge, but with all new andvances in technology, individuals must be weary of the adverse effects.

Although much of this research primarily focuses on health information, it exemplifies another instance of Nonakas theory of organizational knowledge creation principles in action. In this particular instance however, the oragnization is within the realm of health care and consumer health which is a highly sigficant field to analyze knowledge management tendancies. Virtual communities have given consumers more autonmony than ever before. Nonaka (1994) explains the importance of autonomy as a principle of his theory by

“Individual autonomy widens the possibility that individuals will motivate themselves to form new knowledge… A sense of purpose and autonomy becomes important as an organizational context. Purpose serves as the basis of conceptualization. Autonomy gives individuals freedom to absorb knowledge.” (p.18)

Applying this idea of autonomy and its positive correlation with knowledge absorption is an interesting connection to make. It would seem as though Nonaka’s conceptualization incorporates a highly networked array of applications. This is all the better for students wanting a deeper understanding of knowledge management and the various branches and additional limbs of research.

References:

Huber, J. T. and Gillaspy, M. L. (2011). Knowledge/Power transforming the social            landscape: The case of the consumer health information movement. The Library Quarterly, 81(4):405-430.

Nonaka, I. (1994). A dynamic theory of organizational knowledge creation.           Organization Science, 5(1):14-37.

The Health Literacy Paradox

Connections between this course and others not only apply to previous undergrad course topics but to courses I have been taking alongside KM this semester as well. In particular, my consumer health information course has given way to several interesting connections to knowledge management. Much of the course has been devoted to the consumer health movement including the various strategies implemented to provide consumers with a more complete understanding of their own health. Throughout the course several reflective opportunities arose where I was able to see how consumer health and knowledge management intersect, especially with regards to health literacy.

The consumer health information movement has upheld a clear and steadfast motivation over its vast history. The goal seems simple enough, to bridge the gap between patient and physician by offering patients accessible information in order to better know, understand, and maintain their physical, mental, and emotional health. For many individuals, including myself, constituting a higher awareness and overall understanding of someone’s personal health and well being does not arise out of simple curiosity. The motivation usually involves a crisis.

In the midst of a consumer’s health crisis, they typically resort to surfing easily accessible answers online. However, over the last decade, in the midst of the information age, an interesting paradox has developed. The root of this paradox extends from the first introductions of the Internet and its abundant capabilities for information search and sharing. It was initially assumed that any person with access to the heralded “virtual highway” would be able to navigate the system in order to yield their own personal benefit. However, the Internet has instead ushered an era of information overload, especially in regards to consumer health. More than ever before society is facing challenges to overcome health literacy barriers due to the overly abundant amount of information at a consumer’s fingertips at any given time.

These challenges to health literacy were especially relevant to childhood, specifically when I was diagnosed with asthma. I was in the fourth grade at the time and so I didn’t understand much about what was happening. I had never heard of asthma, and besides my mom and I, I was completely unaware that anyone had ever experience a similar crisis. All I knew was that I wasn’t able to walk across a room, or go up a single flight of stairs without losing my breath. Only after numerous trips and bi-weekly visits to the asthma doctor and allergist, did I truly began to understand that I was most definitely not alone with my condition. These experiences occurred well before the information age.

In today’s world, users attempting to search for relevant health information often times find the information either too technical or too vague, overly ambiguous, and not referenced by a reputable source. This is a dangerous trend, especially sine there are seemingly abundant ways to share knowledge effectively at our fingertips.  Both health care providers, and consumer alike have been facing barrier after barrier to consumer health knowledge management with seemingly no avail. Solutions, however, do exist. This is where the knowledge management community can step in and offer assistance.

With a combined effort, and the proper KM strategies in place, positive change can and will occur. Health literacy has been a struggle spanning generations of consumers, but can be subsided with the appropriate focus and outreach. A daunting but necessary task for current and future generations to solve.

References:

Dana, B. (1977). Consumer Health Education. Proceedings of the Academy of Political     Science, 32(3), 182–192.

Duval, M. K., & Den Boer, J. (1980). Consumer Health Education. Proceedings of the         Academy of Political Science, 33(4), 168–181.

Knowledge Creating Communities

As an undergrad, the idea of community surfaced quite often as theories of organizational culture and communication were brought to light by my professors. Now as a graduate student, these same thoughts and conceptualization of community and how knowledge is shared and expressed within these groups have begun to surface again. As I analyzed various research throughout the semester I couldn’t help but to pull out certain connections with what I had already known and what I was currently being taught. Various articles seemed to construct a new and deeper conceptualization of knowledge management, including research and theories of how much the advancement of technology has proven to change the scope of public sociability and information sharing.

Several of these theories and arguments seemed to jump off the page, rendering my own questions as to the dichotomous effects communicative technology, and more specifically the introduction of online communities, seem to have on how we interpret community and knowledge management as a whole.

Analyzing and applying Nonaka’s (1991) Knowledge Creating Company theory to a modern day KM platform helped bring to light several connections to past literature of previous courses. Nonaka’s theory explains how an individual’s participation and commitment are highly dependent and strongly influenced by culturally specific communitarians, group orientation and external pressures (Glisby & Holden, 2003, p. 35). Although Nonaka focuses his lens to that of organizational productivity, I began to wonder how some of these conceptualization of how knowledge is shared and transferred might apply to a community setting. As I went back to previous literature, I found several interesting connections.

Of these connections, Friedland’s (2001) “local imagined community” was the first idea to really stand out. The concept is simple, and stems from Jurgen Habermas’s (1981,1987) “lifeworld” versus “system” theory of communicative action. The theory dictates that all communities lie at the interaction of various social arenas. While the lifeworld arenas form culture, personality, and institutional legitimacy through communicative action, the system arenas form integration through economic and political power.

The “local imagined community”, as described by Friedland (2001), lies at the seam of the lifeworld and system, where the national media, the subcultural media and the various forms of social networking creates a person’s sense of place in the community. This was a fascinating analysis of something that seemed so very clear and highly evident in today’s world. I began to consider how often what we see in the media and what we experience within our social community shape our communicative knowledge sharing tendencies, as in who we talk to and what we talk about. An ever growing amount of our daily conversations are tethered to our participation and commitment in our respective local imagined communities similar to ways in which Nonaka observed individuals within his knowledge creating companies.

The more I seemed to think about this connection the more fascinating it became. Feel free to share your thoughts on this connection. I thought it was pretty cool.

References:

Friedland, Lewis. (2001). Communication, community, and democracy: Toward a theory of the communicatively integrated community. Communication Research, 28(4), 358-391.

Habermas, J. (1981,1987). The theory of communicative action: Life world and system: A critique of functionalist reason (T. Burger, Trans.) (Volume 2). Boston: Beacon.

Glisby, M. & Holden, N. (2003). Contextual constraints in knowledge management theory: The cultural embeddedness of Nonaka’s knowledge creating company. Knowledge and Process Management, 10(1), 29-36.

Nonaka, I. (1991). The knowledge creating company. Harvard Business Review, Nov.-Dec.