Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)
School of Education
job performance, knowledge transfer, social networking, tacit knowledge
Research and consultant work has surfaced examples of the financial benefits of transferring knowledge within an organization. However, for these benefits to be realized the environment must be conducive to learning (von Krogh, 1998; von Krogh, Kazuo, & Nonka, 2000) and to socialization. Socialization is a key component in the sharing or relay of tacit knowledge (Busch, Richards, & Dampney, 2003; Haldin-Herrgard, 2000; Hauschild et al., 2003; Leonard & Sensiper, 1998) because it serves to expand one's network of resources (Seufert, von Krogh, & Bach, 1999) and is a source of justification of an individual's beliefs (von Krogh et al, 2000). Tacit knowledge and thus social networks have a strong connection to job performance.
The study reviewed how social/work networks of twelve individuals were created, expanded, and managed. These individuals have been in their current role/assignment for one to three years. The twelve individuals represented many employment sectors - not-for-profit organizations, government, education, religious, and business. The individuals were mostly split evenly by gender, almost all were not directly promoted to fill a position vacated by their prior direct manager, and most individuals had to relocate to their new position.
The study focused on how a primary (research subject) added new individuals to their network. Four phases seemed to emerge - identification, preparation, decision to add and establishing a common bond. Identification and preparation varied considerably by individual. Finding common ground provided the foundation to establish the relationship. At times, common ground was identified through the sharing of personal information and trust.
Once added to a network, contacts were maintained through a variety of communication channels. Each primary had his or her own channel preference (e.g. email, phone), but would adapt the choice of communication channel to the situation. Communication frequency and the method of maintaining contact information also varied. Data outlined two key benefits - accessibility to others, which is the ability to leverage ones network to get to a person that they could not access otherwise, and the compounding effect, where the contacts from others networks become accessible or even added into the primary's network.
Schur, M. (2009). An Empirical Study of the Influence of Social Networking on the Transfer of Tacit Knowledge and Job Performance (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1162