Bridging the knowledge gap: Using social network methodology for detecting, connecting and facilitating informal networked learning in organizations

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Proceedings of the Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, ISSN: 1530-1605, Page: 1-8

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de Laat, Maarten F
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Engineering; learning; network; social; gap:; knowledge; bridging; networked; informal; facilitating; connecting; detecting; organizations; methodology; Arts and Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences
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This paper presents a social network analysis (SNA) based methodology for holding up a mirror within organisations to detect and visualise informal networked learning activities spontaneously undertaken by its workers. Practice driven informal workplace learning often goes undetected, but is increasingly seen as a powerful way of optimizing organizational learning and knowledge management practices based on meaningful day-to-day learning interactions. Empirical data from this study shows that using the Network mirror helps to bridge latent and weak ties between workers in organisations who are dealing with similar challenges and questions. The methodology combines SNA with group decision software not only to detect networks but also to make explicit what these networks are working on and what is meaningful to them. Triangulation of these data streams leads to new interventions driven by bottom-up networked activity as opposed to management directives. © 2011 IEEE.