Applying wikis to managing knowledge


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Presentation in European Conference on Knowledge Management (ECKM) 7.9.2007

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Applying wikis to managing knowledge

  1. 1. ECKM 7.9.2007Applying wikis to managingknowledge – A socio-technicalapproachMiia Kosonen & Aino KiantoLappeenranta University of Technology, FinlandSchool of Business
  2. 2. Why to study wikis in KM?• The development towards virtual forms or organizing andcollaboration, and increasing need to manage distributedknowledge• Many organizations in state of confusion – ’could we usethem?’ how? is it any good for us?’• Web 2.0 tools such as wikis and weblogs to supportmultitude of knowledge-work processes simultaneously• Close connection with the community-based knowledgesharing and creation: when successfully embedded incommunities, these tools reach beyond the individual,codified bases of knowledge
  3. 3. Research gap and questions• Social software – though ’social’ – has been approachedmostly from individual perspective or by providingmanagerial how-to-do guidelines• Current research lacks practical examples on how toimplement social software in organizations, particularly inthe corporate context• How internal wikis have been incorporated into theorganization?• How does the incorporation of wikis reflect the socio-technical dimension of knowledge management?
  4. 4. Methodology• A single case study in one engineering organization fromthe ICT industry• A successful organization within its industry and a forerunner in developing communicationtechnologies; a fruitful breeding ground for social software adoption and thus a revelatory case• Group interviews (2) resulting in a total textual dataset of41 pages, informal conversations with the informantsand company-internal presentation materials• Analysis the data first inductively (sorting into categoriesbased on occuring regularities) and then identifying therelevant parts that required further analysis, mappingthem and reflecting the findings with the existing theory
  5. 5. ResultsHow have internal wikisbeen incorporated into theorganization?CorporatechampionTechnicalsupportInformalnetworksInternal brandingand marketingSocialsupportSupportiveorganizationalcultureWord-of-mouthIndividualmotivations,seeing the benefitEasiness ofuseindividualtechnicalsocial
  6. 6. Conclusions• The success of wiki implementation relied in– understanding the surrounding community’s needs– continuously adapting to them (making technicalmodifications, giving guidance and support, brandingthe tool)– cultivating a supportive organizational culture– taking advantage of the informal, unplannedorganization
  7. 7. ConclusionsThe importance of a socio-technical view: theclose and complex interactions between thetechnology and the surrounding organizationalcontext both1) in wiki adoption2) in managing dispersed knowledge generally
  8. 8. Theoretical and managerial contribution• Understanding on successful adoption of wikis byproviding a case example from the ICT industry• Demonstrating the importance of a socio-technical viewtowards adopting online communication andcollaboration technologies in organizations (cf. Huysman& Wulf, 2006, Zack & McKenney, 1995)• If organizations want to create sustainable value throughknowledge, they should opt for a comprehensiveapproach, which takes into account both thetechnologies and the social environment in which theyare to be utilized.
  9. 9. Thank you!Miia KosonenDoctoral Student, M.Sc. (Econ.)Lappeenranta University of TechnologySchool of
  10. 10. Thank you!Miia KosonenDoctoral Student, M.Sc. (Econ.)Lappeenranta University of TechnologySchool of