Knowledge Management 2.0


The research project Knowledge Management 2.0 develops a typology of ESN knowledge actor roles as well as an approach to discover these roles based on the analysis of ESN data. The derived insights support the identification of knowledge-in-practice and, thus, enhance organisational knowledge transparency.

Research Picture


Project Description

Traditionally, knowledge management initiatives have focused on the capture and storage of what an employee knows. Yet, many of these attempts to manage knowledge have failed due to not paying sufficient attention to the social context of knowledge work. As such, knowledge work is often conducted in informal organisational structures that exist next to the organisational chart and are not obvious to a company’s management. As a result, there is only a limited understanding of the performed knowledge practices and the involved actors.

Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) are internal social networking sites that are increasingly used by companies to reinforce knowledge sharing and collaboration among employees. Performing knowledge (inter)actions on an ESN, e.g. gathering opinions or discussing a work-related problem, employees leave digital traces that are stored as log files in the platform’s back end. The relationships emerging on the ESN reflect a subset of an organisation’s knowledge flows. While ESN use practices have been studied in prior works, little is known about the extent to which users engage in different use practices and how combinations of use practices contribute to behavioural patterns and different user roles. Moreover, prior work has mostly relied on qualitative analysis of message content. To enable the analysis of larger datasets, there is a need to characterise ESN interactions quantitatively.

It is the goal of this research project to discover ESN knowledge actor roles in order to identify the knowledge embedded in the organisational practice. The research project addresses the following main research question: Which knowledge actor roles can be distinguished in ESN and how can they be recognised based on the analysis of the accumulated data?

The main steps of the research project include the development of a literature-based ESN knowledge actor role framework. This framework suggests roles potentially identifiable in ESN, their behavioural dimensions and metrics to measure these dimensions. The actual data analysis is performed using a real ESN dataset provided by a professional services firm. Informed by the literature review and by the features of the dataset, a set of metrics is developed and calculated for each ESN user. Following an explorative research design, knowledge actor roles are discovered based on a cluster analysis. Having assigned the users to different clusters, rules describing how the different behavioural dimensions contribute to a cluster, i.e. a knowledge actor role, are generated. The results of the analysis are compared with the literature-based ESN knowledge actor role framework and discussed with representatives of the case company.

The contributions of the research project include a quantitative approach to discover behavioural dimensions and knowledge actor roles on ESN. The findings of the project lead to an improved understanding of knowledge work which, in turn, can enable more evidence based decision-making at the intersection between knowledge management and human resources management.

Related Student Reports (excerpt)

  • Analyzing Enterprise Social Network data: A market overview and comparison of tools
    (Sebastian Richter; Bachelor Thesis; 2015)
  • Einsatz von Business-Intelligence-Tools im Projektmanagement: Anforderungen und Marktanalyse
    (Daniel Bernd Hermann Keilholz; Bachelor Thesis; 2014)
  • Analyse und Evaluierung von Methoden zur Wissensbewahrung
    (Lisa Marie Constanze Engelmann; Bachelor Thesis; 2014)
  • An investigation of current Enterprise Social Network solutions regarding their capabilities to support expertise localization
    (Ulrich Mackert; Bachelor Thesis; 2014)
  • Ein Konzept zur Identifikation und Bewertung von Use Cases für die Umsetzung in Enterprise Social Networks – Untersuchung und prototypische Implementierung am Beispiel der N-ERGIE Aktiengesellschaft
    (Martin Lüdecke; Master Thesis; 2014)
  • Analyse und Evaluierung von Methoden zur Messung von Wissensverlustrisiken
    (Franziska Carina Leibold; Bachelor Thesis; 2014)
  • Expertensuche in Enterprise Social Networks ? Entwicklung eines Ansatzes anhand der Open Source Social Software ?Elgg?
    (Julian Christoph Wohlrab; Bachelor Thesis; 2014)
  • Using Enterprise Social Networks to support succession planning and employee promotion
    (Alicia Mittelbach; Bachelor Thesis; 2014)
  • Die Bedeutung von elektronischen sozialen Netzwerken in der internen Unternehmenskommunikation: State-of-the-Art-Analyse
    (Carina Maisel; Bachelor Thesis; 2014)
  • A framework to analyze brand-building behavior of employees on social media
    (Daniel Bergmann; Master Thesis; 2013)
  • Kennzahlen und Softwareunterstützung im Bereich Talent Intelligence ? Eine State-of-the-Art Analyse
    (Matthias Mühling; Bachelor Thesis)
  • Using Online Social Media for advice seeking and giving – An analysis of user motivation, answer quality, and the automatic identification of questions
    (Lena Fischer; Bachelor Thesis)
  • Entwicklung eines Konzepts zur Erfolgsmessung von Enterprise Social Networks
    (Timo Niegel; Bachelor Thesis)
  • Nutzertypen in sozialen Medien – Eine systematische Literaturanalyse
    (Sofia Belova; Bachelor Thesis)
  • Einfluss von Enterprise 2.0-Werkzeugen auf das Knowledge Sharing
    (Thomas Wolter; Bachelor Thesis)
  • Methoden und Werkzeuge der Wissensidentifikation – eine Status-Quo-Analyse und Einblicke in die Unternehmenspraxis
    (Tona Teresa Henze; Bachelor Thesis)
  • Employee Performance Management in Consulting Firms
    (Alexandra Emanuela Gulie; Master Thesis)