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Social computing for knowledge management


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The world is abuzz with social computing: Facebook, My Space, YouTube, Flickr, Wikipedia, blogs, wikis and other spaces powered by Web 2.0 technology. It’s a social revolution, empowering individuals to communicate, share what they know online, and help others locate information that is important to them in both their private and working lives.

Some see all this as a big waste of corporate time, but is it? Is there value in handing over control of collaboration and sharing knowledge to individuals, rather than hoarding it in records systems, knowledge systems, and thousands of network dive folders? Is there a way you can harness this social revolution to help improve our organisation’s knowledge management practices? Is there actually a solid business value proposition for social computing?

Matthew will look at knowledge management in modern organisations, and how you can benefit by learning from the principles of social computing and Web 2.0 technologies. Matthew will look at case studies in government that demonstrate successful and not-so-successful ways of employing social computing tools, the factors that contributed to their success, and the pitfalls to watch out for. In particular, he will look at the issues in relation to corporate culture by drawing on recent research in blogs and wikis that is based on the theory and work in organisational psychology by Hofstede.

Published in: Business, Technology

Social computing for knowledge management

  1. 1. Social computing for knowledge management Matthew Hodgson ACT regional-lead, Web and Information Management SMS Management & Technology 19 May 2008
  2. 2. Case study – social computing in government
  3. 5. Where’s Wally?
  4. 6. Team’s available brain space
  5. 9. Benefits of using social computing tools <ul><li>For the project: </li></ul><ul><li>Quick to set-up </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to use </li></ul><ul><li>Accessible </li></ul><ul><li>Saved time </li></ul><ul><li>Single source publishing – terms into multiple physical documents </li></ul><ul><li>Managing the team’s knowledge : </li></ul><ul><li>Tool for creation and collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Allowed team to record knowledge as it evolved </li></ul><ul><li>Context – record the relationships between “things” </li></ul>
  6. 10. Results <ul><li>The good: </li></ul><ul><li>Visibility of new practices </li></ul><ul><li>Other project teams from other divisions took notice </li></ul><ul><li>They joined in and used this tool </li></ul><ul><li>The bad: </li></ul><ul><li>We had broken traditional editorial approval process </li></ul><ul><li>The wiki was closed down  </li></ul>
  7. 11. <ul><li>Why? </li></ul>
  8. 12. <ul><li>Control v. rebellion </li></ul><ul><li>Humans are social creatures </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural factors </li></ul>
  9. 13. <ul><li>Control v. rebellion </li></ul>
  10. 15. <ul><li>Organisations like to CONTROL their information </li></ul>
  11. 17. Taylorism and Scientific Management
  12. 18. What the KM guys say
  13. 19. The effects of Taylorism <ul><li>It’s for an Industrial-Age processes, not for Information-Age processes </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforces power-hierarchies in our organisations </li></ul><ul><li>Gives power to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The decision-makers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information gatekeepers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>No power to the people with the ‘stuff’ in their heads! </li></ul>
  14. 20. Gives power to Editors
  15. 21. Gives power to information-organisations
  16. 22. Gives power to companies
  17. 23. Gives power to those who control the front-page
  18. 24. We don’t want them to decide!
  19. 25. A rebellion is here …
  20. 27. Now THEY control YOUR information
  21. 28. Why?
  22. 29. Some stats <ul><li>6.5 billion people on the planet </li></ul><ul><li>Over 1 billion people use the Internet [1] </li></ul><ul><li>Approximately half visit web sites that facilitate social interaction and networking [2] </li></ul>[1] Internet World Stats (2007) [2] (Ipos Insight (2007)
  23. 30. Some stats (cont.) <ul><li>Wikipedia: </li></ul><ul><li>100 million hours of evolving knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Television: </li></ul><ul><li>USA – two hundred billion hours of TV every year </li></ul><ul><li>100 million hours per weekend watching ads </li></ul><ul><li>Internet connected people – one trillion hours of TV </li></ul>Source: Mel Blake (2008) Gin, Television, and Social Surplus
  24. 31. KM needs the ‘right’ management practice <ul><li>Harness all this activity by using the right governance model: </li></ul><ul><li>Centralised: I want it all </li></ul><ul><li>Decentralised: You can have it </li></ul><ul><li>Hybrid: I’ll be strategic, you be operational </li></ul><ul><li>Hard-security: check every step of the way </li></ul><ul><li>Soft-security: let them have cake, and then check it </li></ul>Source: AGIMO, Better Practice Checklist (2008)
  25. 32. Lessons learned <ul><li>Our team project: </li></ul><ul><li>The ‘right’ governance model </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge easily shared </li></ul><ul><li>Social computing tool supported sharing </li></ul><ul><li>Wiki tool going ‘global’: </li></ul><ul><li>Spanned silos </li></ul><ul><li>No governance model beyond the team </li></ul><ul><li>Broke organisation’s overarching models </li></ul>
  26. 33. <ul><li>Humans are social creatures </li></ul>
  27. 34. Survival instincts
  28. 35. Today, technology helps us fulfil social needs Source: Felton, N (2008) New York Times. Great Depression
  29. 36. We have social needs Source: Wikipedia ( Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs)
  30. 37. Group membership affects us as well
  31. 38. Traditional information-consuming roles
  32. 39. New roles help with the different knowledge activities 13% 19% 15% 19% 33% 52% Source: Forrester Research (2008)
  33. 40. They do want to help each other
  34. 41. Key points <ul><li>Its about the social: </li></ul><ul><li>We are social animals and have social needs </li></ul><ul><li>The web is an enabler of social activity </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge-sharing and collaboration is social activity </li></ul><ul><li>We love enablers of social technology: </li></ul><ul><li>Give people EASY-TO-USE tools and they’ll use them to do social things to help the Long-Tail </li></ul><ul><li>It’s not for everyone: </li></ul><ul><li>Not everyone wants to be ‘social’ in this medium </li></ul>
  35. 42. Lessons learned <ul><li>Our KM tool supported the ‘social’: </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge creation </li></ul><ul><li>Refining </li></ul><ul><li>Collecting </li></ul><ul><li>Commenting </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion </li></ul>
  36. 43. <ul><li>Cultural factors </li></ul>
  37. 44. Culture affects the way we work
  38. 45. Cultural Dimensions <ul><li>It’s the Organisation’s personality </li></ul><ul><li>Highly relevant to: </li></ul><ul><li>Web design (Marcus & Gould, 2000; Robbins & Stylianou, 2002) </li></ul><ul><li>Web-based communication (Tsikriktsis, 2002; Wilson, et al., 2002) </li></ul>
  39. 46. Cultural Dimensions <ul><li>Individualism: </li></ul><ul><li>Personal independence </li></ul><ul><li>Uniqueness </li></ul><ul><li>Competition </li></ul><ul><li>Personal achievement and success </li></ul><ul><li>Introspection </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis on internal attributes rather than other people’s opinions and indications </li></ul>
  40. 47. Cultural Dimensions <ul><li>Collectivism: </li></ul><ul><li>Feeling of involvement in, and contribution to, the lives of others </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing – material benefits and non-material resources </li></ul><ul><li>Willingness to accept the opinions/views of others </li></ul><ul><li>Concern about the effects of actions/decisions on others </li></ul><ul><li>Concern about self-presentation </li></ul><ul><li>Belief in correspondence of own outcomes with the outcomes of others </li></ul>
  41. 48. Cultural Dimensions <ul><li>Power-Distance: </li></ul><ul><li>Value power according to rank </li></ul><ul><li>Value hierarchy over flat organisational structures </li></ul><ul><li>Chain-of-command </li></ul><ul><li>Important emotional distance separates subordinates from authorities </li></ul><ul><li>Respect and formal deference for higher status people </li></ul><ul><li>Differential rewards between high and low status people </li></ul>
  42. 49. Individualism / Collectivism Source: Hodgson, M (2008) The Relationship Economy
  43. 50. Power Distance Source: Hodgson, M (2008) The Relationship Economy
  44. 51. Interactions with Wikipedia Source: Pfeil, Zaphiris, & Ang (2006) Behavior Power-Distance Individualism/ Collectivism Add Information ABSOLUTELY! Clarify Information YES Delete Information NO Delete Link NO Fix Link YES Grammar YES Mark-up Language Spelling YES YES
  45. 52. Key points <ul><li>Culture affects: </li></ul><ul><li>Adoption of social computing tools </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge creation and sharing behaviours </li></ul><ul><li>You can’t easily change corporate culture: </li></ul><ul><li>But you can be aware of it what it will do to KM </li></ul><ul><li>You can use it to your advantage </li></ul>
  46. 53. Lessons learned <ul><li>Being aware of cultural issues helps: </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid problems </li></ul><ul><li>Take advantage of motivators </li></ul><ul><li>Culture: </li></ul><ul><li>High hierarchy – can kill knowledge sharing </li></ul><ul><li>High team-centric approach – good sharing </li></ul><ul><li>High individual focus – good creation </li></ul>
  47. 54. <ul><li>Conclusions: </li></ul><ul><li>the value proposition </li></ul>
  48. 55. Intranet expectations Source: Melcrum Intranet Survey (2001 ) 1. Better internal communications 90% 2. Improved processes 80% 3. Knowledge sharing best-practice 72% 4. Improve efficiency 65% 5. Reduction in paperwork 65% 6. Avoid duplication of effort 62% 7. Real-time information sharing 55% 8. Cost savings 55%
  49. 56. The $13 billion USD filing cabinet Source: CNN Money
  50. 57. Lessons learned for KM
  51. 58. Social computing can help KM <ul><li>Achieve KM strategic objectives by: </li></ul><ul><li>Delivering systems that support social interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Supporting evolving knowledge, not static knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Implement KM through: </li></ul><ul><li>Aligning Governance with social processes </li></ul><ul><li>Recognising the importance of the social over the technology itself </li></ul><ul><li>Being aware of culture, not trying to force it to change to meet KM needs </li></ul>
  52. 59. <ul><li>Final thoughts </li></ul>
  53. 60. <ul><li>Be aware of many factors: </li></ul><ul><li>Governance – what model? </li></ul><ul><li>Social interaction – what behaviour? </li></ul><ul><li>Culture – the good, the bad, and the ugly </li></ul>Next time?
  54. 61. FIN Questions?
  55. 62. Social computing for knowledge management
  56. 63. Twitter: magia3e Slideshare: Blog: E: M: 0404 006695 Matthew Hodgson ACT regional-lead, Web and Information Management SMS Management & Technology