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I´m currently writing a paper on Evaluating Knowledge Networks for the
11th International Conference on Multi-Organizational Partnerships,
Alliances and Networks (MOPAN) in Tilburg, NL (see:
My paper aims to trigger the methodological discussion, rather than
providing a specific alternative.
In order to develop a multidisciplinary perspective I would like to
encourage everyone who is interested in the subject to discuss
different methodological approaches and alternatives with me.
Your suggestions and comments will be included in the paper as far as
possible. The paper will be published at the KODE-Network of the LSE
If you´re interested in Knowledge Networks per se you might want to
join our informal yahoo group as well, see:
Take a look at the abstract of the paper as a basis for the discussion
(any suggestions on it welcome;-):
Evaluating Knowledge Networks
The current processes of globalisation and digitalisation have
generated new organisational forms based on more fluid and emergent
organisational structures (Hilthred & Kimble, 2004) such as networks.
These new ways of organising have an effect in the way knowledge is
generated and distributed in organisations. As Kanter (2001) points
out, organisations which develop networks both internal and external to
their organisation are able to deal with knowledge more effectively.
However, it is not clear at present which holistic methodological
approach could be appropriate and sophisticated enough to study the
social and dynamic and complex nature of those networks and the
distribution of knowledge.
This paper therefore reflects on the use of two traditional methods for
the analysis of knowledge dissemination in organisational networks:
Social Network Analysis (Scott, 1996) and Yellow Pages Analysis. Social
Network Analysis (SNA) provides us with a snapshot of the
interrelations and links of the network members. In turn, Yellow Pages
Analysis (YPA) provides information about the distribution of the
knowledge potential of each network member.
Taken together, SNA and YPA are seen as means to map and analyse the
interrelation of distributed knowledge potentials at a given point in
However, although these approaches may help to explain how network
members are linked and how their knowledge potentials are interrelated,
they cannot address the question of how people interact and how they
network. In fact, they tend to lead the researcher to a rather static,
object and structure oriented understanding of organisational knowledge
and its dissemination. Hence, in order to enrich these ways of data
collection, this paper proposes that more qualitative evaluation
methods should be used, in order to better understand the dynamic and
social nature of knowledge dissemination. Building on the theoretical
assumption that knowledge is socially constructed (Gergen, 1994) and
rooted in social practices, the paper suggests the analysis of the
stories and narratives through which people make sense of the network
and their role (i.e. hub, gatekeeper, pulsetaker) as a complementary
alternative to SNA and YPA.
In conclusion this paper will aim to explore and discuss to what extent
a combination of methods could be fruitful to enrich our understanding
of knowledge processes in organisational networks.
Keywords: Knowledge Networks; Evaluation; Social Network Analysis;
Social Psychology Department
London School of Economics
and Political Science
London WC2A 2AE
Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 6215
Fax: +44 (0)20 7955 7565
E-mail: [log in to unmask]
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