Knowledge Exchange in Electronic Networks of Practice: An Examination of Knowledge Types and Knowledge Flows

Knowledge Exchange in Electronic Networks of Practice: An Examination of Knowledge Types and Knowledge Flows

Molly Wasko (Florida State University, USA) and Samer Faraj (McGill Unversity, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-816-1.ch009
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Abstract

This study examines knowledge exchange in a worldwide, extra-organizational, Usenet-based electronic network of practice. Participation in such networks is voluntary, globally distributed, and network participants generally do not have personal or organizational ties. The purpose of the study was to investigate two questions: first, what type of knowledge is being transferred in these networks, and second, how is knowledge transferred across individuals in electronic networks. To address these questions, we observed and saved all messages posted to comp.lang.C++ for a period of 7 weeks. Our analyses include content analysis of 1,562 messages, survey responses from 593 participants, and objective data from the electronic message postings. The study illuminates how people use computer-mediated communication to support knowledge transfer, the types of knowledge transferred, as well as how knowledge flows in this network.

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