Knowledge Management

This research does not address microblogs as Knowledge Management Systems but the connection is important to point out for potential further research and microblog development.

Imagine that a person has found a solution, posted an updated with a link to that solution, and tagged his solution with a hashtag—a microblog’s version of meta data. He is now embarking on knowledge management, “the generation, storage, transfer, transformation, application, embedding and protection of organizational knowledge” (Hedlund, 1994, p. 10; Nonaka, 2005). Perhaps communities of practice can use Yammer to manage their knowledge. In fact, in 2000“…the American Productivity & Quality Center began to notice how important communities of practice were in creating, gathering, and sharing knowledge as part of formal knowledge management (KM) efforts” (Hasanali, et al., 2002, p. vi). To that end, they conducted one of the largest studies on communities of practice to date that included many public and private organizations.

Knowledge management is a term that received some negative press because many organizations spent significant amounts of funding on them in the 1990s and they didn’t quite work as expected. There are many reasons for this but two relevant ones are:

  1. People did not participate either citing time constraints or because cultural values encouraged them to hoard knowledge (Guptara, 1999). Taking a look at the popularity of Twitter, a public microbog, one can see that microblogs have solved this issue; in fact many people just can’t stop contributing (Nagle, 2010).
  2. The other challenge was that KM systems had a hard time ascertaining what a person’s context was and context is a critical component for an effective knowledge management system (Degler & Battle, 2000). One could offer a colleague a great paper but if it is not relevant to what he is doing or otherwise interested in, it will most likely, not be consumed. So, microblogs also have also solved the issue of context.

Expert Networks

Finally, organizations often struggle with figuring out who their experts are, but have begun looking at social media analysis for assistance (Fu, Xiang, Liu, Zhang, & Ma, 2007). For example, imagine if for a year, everything employees were working on was captured in their status updates through Yammer. What if the leaders of that organization could search for certain keywords and could see all the people in the organization who have ever, at least in that year, worked on something like that or are currently working on something similar? How much easier would it be to assemble the best project teams?

This is a section of a research proposal, to read more, go to the Table of Contents