The Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management aims to publish perspectives on topics relevant to the study, implementation and management of knowledge management
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Journal Article

A Theory‑Based Approach to the Relationship between Social Capital and Communities of Practice  pp257-264

El-Sayed Abou-Zeid

© Aug 2007 Volume 5 Issue 3, Editor: Charles Despres, pp257 - 347

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Abstract

There is almost a consensus that tacit component of organisational knowledge is of critical strategic importance because, unlike explicit knowledge, it is both inimitable and appropriable. Because of its characteristics, organisational tacit knowledge is usually created and shared through highly interactive conversation and shared experience, i.e., through a socialisation process. At the firm's level, the effectiveness of the socialisation process depends on the firm's social capital. At group level, it has been argued that communities of practice form the basis of a firm's ability to create and share tacit knowledge. Therefore, investigating the relationship between social capital, communities of practice and individual human action is crucial in understanding the dynamic of cross level knowledge creation and utilisation and in understanding organisational learning process. In order to study this relationship Giddens' theory of structuration is used as it provides an integrating meta‑theory that recognises social reality as constituted by both subjective human actors and by objective institutional properties and attempts to articulate a process‑oriented approach that relates the realm of human action and institutional realm. Based on Giddens' theory a model of the interaction between human action and social capital of the firm is developed. According to this model such interaction is mediated through a firm's communities of practice, which are conceptualised as the means for realising the different types of modality between social capital and human action. Such conceptualisation of a firm's communities of practice as the means for realising the different types of modality between social capital and human action provides a fine‑grained approach to study the impact of their elements, i.e., shared repertoire, mutual engagement and joint enterprise, on the structural, relational and cognitive dimensions of a firm's social capital respectively. In addition, it explicates the duality of firm's communities of practice, namely: they are both the medium and the outcome of collective human action. This model also shows the need for further research in two areas. First is the study of the constraining roles of a firm's communities of practice in creating and sharing organisational tacit knowledge. Second is the study of social capital influencing organisational members in their relation to communities of practice.

 

Keywords: Knowledge management, social capital, communities of practice, structuration theory

 

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Journal Article

Virtual Embeddedness and Social Media as a Basis for the Relational Capital Management of new Ventures  pp188-203

Eleni Magdalini Vasileiadou, Magdalena Missler-Behr

© Sep 2011 Volume 9 Issue 3, ECIC 2011, Editor: Geoff Turner and Clemente Minonne, pp181 - 295

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Abstract

New forms of data storage and transfer as well as new methods to communicate, collaborate and exchange knowledge at diminishing transaction costs over the world‑wide‑web have revolutionised networking, knowledge creation and innovation processes in the knowledge era. Virtual embeddedness signifies the possibility to draw upon pay‑per‑use computing resources and a variety of customised web services and applications. The facilitated utilisation of Software‑as‑a‑Service and in particular social media (SM) applications enables effective networking on platforms and in virtual communities in social as well as in business terms. Such networking processes lead to the accumulation of social, relational and intellectual capital, as they facilitate information and knowledge exchange, integration and creation. Since information and knowledge sharing, collaboration and socialising take virtual dimensions, opportunities and threats arise for enterprises regarding relational capital management (RCM) as well as knowledge and value creation. Most new ventures are keen on utilising SM for internal and external communication and collaboration purposes. In this context, the question of how new ventures can improve their RCM through the utilisation of innovative information and communication technologies (ICT) and SM arises. To answer this question, ventures have to grasp the potential of web technologies and SM and to assess their appropriability to achieve relationship‑specific goals. They need to be aware of SM risks in order to exploit chances and avert threats which arise through SM use. In this paper, the question of how to exploit the benefits of virtual embeddedness and Web 2.0 in order to optimise the RCM of new ventures is discussed. To provide a basis for this discussion, the qualities of social and relational capital and the different forms of physical and virtual embeddedness are analysed. The utilisation of SM for RCM purposes and the implementation of a SM strategy are exemplified in the case study of a German eCommerce venture that took advantage of web technologies to build up and manage its relational capital in virtual and physical dimensions. Finally, a conceptual model describing the contribution of virtual embeddedness and SM to knowledge, value and reputation creation is proposed and illustrated by means of the case study.

 

Keywords: social capital, relational capital, Web 2.0, social media, new ventures

 

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Journal Article

Social Capital Management in Iranian Knowledge‑Based Organizations  pp204-210

Khodayar Abili

© Sep 2011 Volume 9 Issue 3, ECIC 2011, Editor: Geoff Turner and Clemente Minonne, pp181 - 295

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Abstract

The importance of social capital and its effective management approach in organizations, particularly knowledge‑based organizations, for assuring their ongoing and sustainable development and competitive advantage has been a matter of serious discussion in recent years. Considering the ongoing expansion and growth of knowledge‑based organizations in Iran and the role and importance of their social capital in further development of Iranian society, an effective system of management of their social capital is a matter of concern of their top managers. Therefore, a blend (quantitative and qualitative) multiple case study was conducted with a selected number of knowledge‑based organizations with different sizes to assess their existing social capital, to identify factors which might have positive or negative impacts on the promotion of their social capital and to propose an effective approach for its management. To conduct the study, a purposive sample of fifteen large organizations and sixteen SMEs was selected. To collect the data, a stratified random sample of 528 knowledge workers (336 from large and 192 from MEs) and their HRM managers were given a 24‑item questionnaire which was designed based on three dimensions (structural, relational and cognitive) of Organizational Social Capital Model used by Nahapiet and Ghoshal in their study. This was followed by semi‑structured interviews with a selected number of research participants for completion and further clarification of collected data. Findings indicated that the selected knowledge‑based organizations are not benefiting from a desirable social capital. It is even worse in large organizations. Therefore, some measures need to be taken to improve the situation. Based on the findings of this study, suggestions were provided for the promotion of their social capitals and their more effective management

 

Keywords: social capital, organizational social capital, knowledge-based organizations, SMEs, structural capital, relational capital, cognitive capital

 

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Journal Article

A Framework for Knowledge Integration and Social Capital in Collaborative Projects  pp267-280

Mamata Bhandar

© Nov 2010 Volume 8 Issue 3, Editor: David O'Donnell, pp267 - 344

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Abstract

Collaborative projects are increasingly common today and such projects require specialized knowledge of the partners to be integrated, therefore posing the challenge of inter‑organizational knowledge integration; integrating diverse knowledge bases across organizations. Studies on knowledge integration and inter‑organizational networks indicate the positive influence of social capital in the context. Since partners in a collaborative project are likely to possess this resource due to their partnership, a knowledge integration view is adopted to conduct an empirical investigation of a three‑partner collaborative project to investigate the influence of social capital. The study shows how the different aspects of social capital influence the knowledge integration behaviour of the partners for the project. Implications to research and practice are discussed.

 

Keywords: social capital, collaborative projects, knowledge integration

 

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Journal Article

Can Family Firms Innovate? Sharing Internal Knowledge From a Social Capital Perspective  pp30-37

Antonio Carrasco-Hernández, Daniel Jiménez-Jiménez

© Jan 2013 Volume 11 Issue 1, ECKM 2012, Editor: Dr Juan Gabriel Cegarra and Dr María Eugenia Sánchez, pp1 - 115

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Abstract

Many studies focus their analysis on the effects of knowledge management on the development of organizational innovations. Innovation is posited, in this paper, to be a managerial priority that facilitates the creation of competitive advantage. The data, information and knowledge that contribute to innovation processes are available in social capital. Social capital is understood as the networks, norms and trust that enable participants to act together more effectively to pursue shared objectives (Putnam, 1993). From this foundation, we argue that the effectiveness of these networks can be determined by whether the personnel who interact perceive the relationship to be worthwhile, equitable, productive and satisfying. Only individuals can apply their own experience and contextual understanding to interpret the details and implications of a particular situation in order to determine what is the appropriate action or actions to take. Internal social capital enhances the ability of members within a firm to know who to contact for relevant knowledge. This means that internal social capital facilitates the development of innovation through the acquisition of knowledge from internal and external networks. However, there are some problems in family firms. The utilization of internal capital does not guarantee that appropriate information is used in appropriate circumstances or that information is appropriately updated (De Holan and Phillips, 2004). The influence of the family on the company may inhibit or foster the exploitation of this knowledge. In this context, we try to test the influence of social capital on innovation on family firms. We develop a measure of the extent of family control of family companies – familiness – and examine the moderator role of this variable in the relationship between social capital and product innovation. The results of our empirical study of 282 family firms show that social capital has a positive relationship with product innovation. That is, the active connections among people – “the trust, mutual understanding, shared values and behaviors that bind the members of human networks and communities and make cooperative action possible” (Cohen and Prusak, 2001) – allow companies to generate innovations. Second, we also found that familiness plays a moderator role in the relationship between social capital and innovation. In this case, we have found that cultural dimension of familiness positively moderates the relationship between social capital and innovation.

 

Keywords: social capital, familiness, power, experience, innovation, family business

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 5 Issue 3 / Jul 2007  pp257‑347

Editor: Charles Despres

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Keywords: architectures for knowledge management systems, business school, case based reasoning, communities of practice, customer relationship management, decision making, discovery query, expert, failure factors, frames, fuzzy logic, Heidegger, info-culture, info-structure, infrastructure, knowledge acquisition, knowledge adaptation, knowledge communication, knowledge dialogues, knowledge dissemination, knowledge generation, knowledge management practices, knowledge management systems, knowledge media, knowledge representation, knowledge transfer, knowledge utilization, knowledgebase, learning organization, ontology, organizational knowledge, popper, predicate logic, production rule, propositional logic, ranking semantic relations, relation robustness, relationship search, semantic associations search, semantic nets, semantic web, social capital, structuration theory, success factors of KM, validation

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 5 Issue 4 / Dec 2007  pp347‑550

Editor: Charles Despres

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Keywords: architectures for knowledge management systems, business school, case based reasoning, communities of practice, customer relationship management, decision making, discovery query, expert, failure factors, frames, fuzzy logic, Heidegger, info-culture, info-structure, infrastructure, knowledge acquisition, knowledge adaptation, knowledge communication, knowledge dialogues, knowledge dissemination, knowledge generation, knowledge management practices, knowledge management systems, knowledge media, knowledge representation, knowledge transfer, knowledge utilization, knowledgebase, learning organization, ontology, organizational knowledge, popper, predicate logic, production rule, propositional logic, ranking semantic relations, relation robustness, relationship search, semantic associations search, semantic nets, semantic web, social capital, structuration theory, success factors of KM, validation

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 6 Issue 1 / Jul 2008  pp1‑74

Editor: Charles Despres

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Keywords: architectures for knowledge management systems, business school, case based reasoning, communities of practice, customer relationship management, decision making, discovery query, expert, failure factors, frames, fuzzy logic, Heidegger, info-culture, info-structure, infrastructure, knowledge acquisition, knowledge adaptation, knowledge communication, knowledge dialogues, knowledge dissemination, knowledge generation, knowledge management practices, knowledge management systems, knowledge media, knowledge representation, knowledge transfer, knowledge utilization, knowledgebase, learning organization, ontology, organizational knowledge, popper, predicate logic, production rule, propositional logic, ranking semantic relations, relation robustness, relationship search, semantic associations search, semantic nets, semantic web, social capital, structuration theory, success factors of KM, validation

 

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