Business Advantage of Community Knowledge

Business Advantage of Community Knowledge

Henry de Vos (Telematica Instituut, The Netherlands) and Carla Verwijs (Telematica Instituut, The Netherlands)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 3
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-563-4.ch003
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Abstract

Many examples are known of companies that have established communities (Siemens, IBM, Shell, Unilever). Mostly, these communities have an internal function: distribution of knowledge throughout the organization. How to build and maintain communities is no longer a question for these companies. At this phase, the companies want to know if and how they can benefit more from their communities. We use the framework of McDermott (2001) to explain how communities mature (see Figure 1). Community activities are the first step. Then, at the next level, its output and value become important. Finally, you can look at how the community adds to business results. The triangle shape of the framework shows that most results can be expected on the level of community activities and least on business results. From what we have seen in company communities until now, we can conclude that most of these communities are on the level of “activities” and “output.” Some have value for teams or individuals (“value” level), but we hardly see communities that have a clear business result. Communities may grow to a higher level, but some companies are looking for ways to catalyze this process. In the next section we generate ideas of how communities can support knowledge-based services. Examples and cases illustrate these.

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