Knowledge Blogs in Firm Internal Use
Miia Kosonen (Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland), Kaisa Henttonen (Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland) and Kirsimarja Blomqvist (Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland)
Copyright: © 2009
Knowledge sharing in today’s distributed organizations is a challenge. Hierarchical structures may not support the fast flow of information or the efficient co-creation of knowledge from specialized and tacit individual knowledge bases (see Grant, 1996; Miles et al., 2000; Adler, 2001). There is therefore a need to devise new patterns for leveraging dispersed knowledge within organizations and across organizational borders. In the following we explore internal company weblogs as a potential new channel for sharing knowledge and expertise. Knowledge is deeply embedded in social interaction. Recent advances in ICT have led to the production of social software, the primary purpose of which is knowledge sharing (Teigland & Wasko, 2005). One example of this is the emergence of weblogs (or blogs), personal Web pages that incorporate regular posts in reverse chronological order about a particular topic, current events or personal thoughts and expression (Blanchard, 2004; Herring et al., 2004; Wagner & Bolloju, 2005). Our focus is on internal knowledge blogs. A small proportion of blogs could be classified as knowledge blogs, implying the online equivalent of professional journals in which authors share new knowledge in their professional domains: they report on their research progress, share references and make observations (Wagner & Bolloju, 2005). However, the application of blogs in knowledge management is a new phenomenon, and firms have been slow to do so. Current research fails to promote understanding of the applicability of blogs in networked teams and organizations, and of their role in the social processes of knowledge sharing and creation. Thus we contribute to the emerging literature by exploring the critical factors involved in applying internal company blogs. Most studies have addressed only the rational part of mediated communication, that is, the characteristics of communication technologies and their capacity for managing and transferring information. Our aim in this article is to include the social perspective, and to provide a categorization that combines the rational-social and individual-organizational dimensions. We then report on a mini-case study in order to illustrate the identified factors. We argue that anyone wishing to exploit the potential of knowledge sharing through internal blogs should understand their nature and characteristics in order to be able to make the best possible media choices.