Knowledge Elicitation, Organization and Dissemination in a Knowledge Network:  The Role of Knowledge Brokers   Kimiz Dalki...
Overview <ul><li>Problem Context </li></ul><ul><li>What are  K nowledge  B rokers ? </li></ul><ul><li>The RDEE  Canada  Ca...
Problem Context <ul><li>Knowledge networks are supported by information and communication technology </li></ul><ul><ul><li...
What are knowledge brokers? <ul><li>Information professionals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Information intermediaries </li></ul><...
The RDEE Canada Case Study <ul><li>Virtual network with over 100 regional economic development agents across Canada workin...
Methodology <ul><li>Ethnographic methods including case studies and action research to study knowledge sharing among RDEE ...
Methodology …/2 <ul><li>RDEE  network members were asked to identify the major means of communication they used to communi...
Key Findings <ul><li>Communication channels must be appropriately chosen to support the social presence that is demanded b...
Key Findings …/2 <ul><li>Found that knowledge brokers played a role in knowledge sharing in the RDEE network </li></ul><ul...
Key Findings …/3 <ul><li>The facilitated workshop validated the choice of Skype and the role played by the knowledge broke...
Conclusions <ul><li>Distributed network members are more inclined to connect and use electronic networks when they are mot...
Conclusions …/2 <ul><li>Knowledge brokers can help connect the social (e.g. trust) and technical (e.g. cognitive ability o...
Conclusions …/3 <ul><li>Knowledge brokers are pivotal agents that successfully promote the bottom-up emergence of practice...
Future Work <ul><li>The use of social network analysis to further analyze knowledge flow within RDEE Canada network member...
Thank You! <ul><li>Please contact the authors at: </li></ul><ul><li>Kimiz.Dalkir  at  mcgill.ca </li></ul><ul><li>Erica.Wi...
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Knowledge Elicitation, Organization and Dissemination in a Knowledge Network: The Role of Knowledge Brokers

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Kimiz L. Dalkir and Erica Wiseman
McGill University, School of Library and Information Studies, 3459 McTavish Street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Published in: Economy & Finance, Education
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Knowledge Elicitation, Organization and Dissemination in a Knowledge Network: The Role of Knowledge Brokers

  1. 1. Knowledge Elicitation, Organization and Dissemination in a Knowledge Network: The Role of Knowledge Brokers Kimiz Dalkir and Erica Wiseman McGill University Montreal, Canada
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Problem Context </li></ul><ul><li>What are K nowledge B rokers ? </li></ul><ul><li>The RDEE Canada Case Study </li></ul><ul><li>Methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Key Findings </li></ul><ul><li>Next Steps </li></ul>
  3. 3. Problem Context <ul><li>Knowledge networks are supported by information and communication technology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Help connect isolated professionals and local pockets of expertise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Successful if members are actively sharing and collaborating toward concrete goals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Require new roles e.g. knowledge brokers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to be studied “in situ” </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. What are knowledge brokers? <ul><li>Information professionals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Information intermediaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agents that search out knowledge, synthesize research and scan for best practices, both within and outside their organizations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Active in the elicitation, organization and dissemination of knowledge within knowledge networks </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. The RDEE Canada Case Study <ul><li>Virtual network with over 100 regional economic development agents across Canada working in the areas of tourism, youth employment, rural development and the knowledge economy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Highly mobile and are dispersed in communities all across the country </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rarely have the chance to meet face-to-face </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Therefore make extensive use of ICTs to communicate, collaborate and share what has worked and what hasn’t in their jobs </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Methodology <ul><li>Ethnographic methods including case studies and action research to study knowledge sharing among RDEE Canada network members </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Research on the choice of communication channels for knowledge sharing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different channels vary with respect to the richness of the knowledge that can be transmitted (“media richness”) and whether or not they are technology-mediated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The existence and type of communication channels available to network members determines the efficiency of knowledge exchange </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Methodology …/2 <ul><li>RDEE network members were asked to identify the major means of communication they used to communicate with other members, an idea of the frequency of these communications and their general purpose </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First completed a questionnaire survey </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Then participated in a facilitated knowledge elicitation workshop </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Key Findings <ul><li>Communication channels must be appropriately chosen to support the social presence that is demanded by the sharing of various types of organizational knowledge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The degree of explicitness of the knowledge that can be shared as well as the ease and convenience of a given communication channel is negatively correlated to the media richness of the channel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge brokers were found to play a large role in facilitating the choice of appropriate communication channels for the given community </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Key Findings …/2 <ul><li>Found that knowledge brokers played a role in knowledge sharing in the RDEE network </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Members had access to a portal but this communication channel was not highly used </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A knowledge broker recommended a freely available VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) system (Skype) that was then widely adopted and used by network members to communicate, collaborate and share knowledge </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Key Findings …/3 <ul><li>The facilitated workshop validated the choice of Skype and the role played by the knowledge broker </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identified universal and reliable access to easy and cost effective channels as a priority </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perception that too much training needed to be able to use the portal whereas the Skype was plug and play </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participants valued the social presence Skype which best approximated face-to-face communication </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Conclusions <ul><li>Distributed network members are more inclined to connect and use electronic networks when they are motivated to share knowledge with others, able to share knowledge and have the opportunity to share knowledge. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In the RDEE network the motivation and opportunity conditions were being met but participants had to turn to a technology other than the network portal in order to share knowledge more easily </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Conclusions …/2 <ul><li>Knowledge brokers can help connect the social (e.g. trust) and technical (e.g. cognitive ability or information literacy) required to share knowledge in a technology-mediated manner </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The introduction of Skype was triggered by a knowledge broker who vetted the value of the channel for the network and who also helped other members learn how to use the technology </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Conclusions …/3 <ul><li>Knowledge brokers are pivotal agents that successfully promote the bottom-up emergence of practices by seeking out and spreading relevant best practices and by ensuring that new silos do not arise within the organization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The RDEE knowledge broker “borrowed” a best practice observed to work effectively in other networks, publicized the knowledge, offered informal training and support and in doing so, introduced an innovation that is still sustained to the present day </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Future Work <ul><li>The use of social network analysis to further analyze knowledge flow within RDEE Canada network members to investigate how knowledge brokers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>can play a crucial role in ensuring that institutional knowledge is created, managed, and shared in the organization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>can improve and help institutionalize the learning capabilities of a network (e.g. ensure that knowledge remains in the organizational memory when key persons leave the network) </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Thank You! <ul><li>Please contact the authors at: </li></ul><ul><li>Kimiz.Dalkir at mcgill.ca </li></ul><ul><li>Erica.Wiseman at mail.mcgill.ca </li></ul>

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