© Jan 2013 Volume 11 Issue 1, ECKM 2012, Editor: Dr Juan Gabriel Cegarra and Dr María Eugenia Sánchez, pp1 - 115
Web 2.0 and Social Software revolutionize the knowledge exchange within and between organizations. This is one of the claims consultants and software vendors in the field have made. But have the promises been kept and has evidence been achieved so far, in particular for knowledge management in globally distributed settings? As a starting point, our paper introduces the field of Global Social Knowledge Management (GSKM). We see this area as one of the main research area for future research in the Knowledge Management domain. A variety of social software applications have already been seen promising and incorporated into the context of knowledge management (Avram 2006; Zheng and Zheng 2010; Levy 2009). One main assumption is that social software could bridge the traditional gap between human‑ and technology orientation (Avram 2006:1; Fiedler & Welpe 2011). However, there is so far only anecdotal evidence how these applications work in globally distributed organizational settings. Within this paper, we present the key issues for GSKM and elaborate on transferability of these aspects to differing contexts. The main research domains related to GSKM are Social Software and Global Knowledge Management. We present a brief review of state of the art research for these domains and focus in detail on Social Software supported knowledge activities. As one of the first efforts, we perform a mapping of Social Software to KM activities and major barriers. Additionally, we will illustrate through a case study how to contextualize the GSKM approach for educational application area. The paper is a starting point for discourse on this promising field, outlining the research field of globally distributed Social Software‑supported Knowledge Management and discussing current research efforts on the main components. By this paper we intend to contribute towards a research agenda for Global Social Knowledge Management.
Keywords: global social knowledge management, social software, barriers, distributed teamwork, contextualization, cultural influence