With the recent growing body of literature on knowledge management and e-collaboration, much attention is now being given to creation of many novel conceptual/technological frameworks for managing knowledge creation in various kinds of e-communities. This article represents one such attempt with particular attention given to the divergence occurrences in knowledge communities, and their management as will be discussed later. A recent study by Diaz and Canals (2004) demonstrated that as the degree of people’s involvement in various communications acts increases, so will the opportunities for divergence. Contrary to the general tendency within the CSCW community that regards conflicts as a synchronization and versioning problem in need of some solutions, the knowledge management community tends to live peacefully with such divergences and regards them as opportunities for interaction and therefore, sources of creating new knowledge.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Actors: Human agents that enact a set of tasks by assuming one or more roles within the process. In the awareness net there is no graphical representation for the “actors” and instead, actors are represented indirectly by relevant role(s) that they play within the process.
Required Level of Awareness: The level of awareness that is expected from a role based on both the nature of the task the role is playing as well as the organisational culture surrounding the community.
Private Knowledge Workspace (PKW): A nonpublic space that can be accessed by its owner only. It represents the private knowledge context and allows users to privately externalize any knowledge. It contains personal knowledge, point of view, and alternatives.
Task: Has two types: personal task and collaborative task.
Shared Knowledge Workspace (SKW): Is a public space that can be accessed equally by any community member and represents shared knowledge context.
Role: A set of norms expressed in terms of obligations, privileges, and rights enabling actors to perform certain tasks within the process. A subrole or specialised role is a child of a ROLE concept that inherits many attributes from the concept ROLE.
Collaborative Task: Is composed of two or more personal tasks that have a common goal and therefore (must) share a common task artifact.
Role Qartifact: Carries private knowledge/resources about how to perform actions associated with a personal task.
that is: everybody else’s personal tasks, as well as their related role artifacts
Divergence Occurrence: Generation of alternatives, arguments, and different points of view about a topic of interest.
Actual Level of Awareness: Represents what an actor already knows of various aspects of collaboration (who is doing what, by whom, and how); the latter are defined within the awareness net as collaborative semantic concepts roles, tasks and task artifacts.
Personal Task: Consists of a sequence of “actions” or “execution steps” for achieving a specific process goal.
Task Artefact: Carries shared knowledge resources about how various actions associated with a collaborative task are executed. It is shared by interacting roles.