Managing Government Agency Collaboration through Social Networks

Managing Government Agency Collaboration through Social Networks

Salvatore Parise (Babson College, USA)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-931-1.ch100


Public and private-based organizations are increasingly relying on collaboration—the coordination of two or more individuals, groups or companies working together to achieve a common goal or to create mutual value—to meet customer and market needs. Collaboration requires “rich” employee communication mechanisms that involve both people finding and interacting with subject-matter experts inside and outside their organization as well as people tapping into and incorporating structured information (e.g., the latest market research reports) and “unstructured knowledge” (e.g., expert opinions discussed at conferences) as part of their work projects. Today’s collaboration needs require networks of employees, often with different areas of expertise, organizational affiliations, job levels, or company tenure, to coordinate in near real-time to perform knowledge-based work. Organizations with a focus on the acquisition, interpretation, and sharing of intelligence information can benefit by understanding the barriers to collaboration and how fostering social networks among employees and key stakeholders results in more effective collaboration. This article provides an illustrated example involving a government intelligence agency of how social network analysis can be used to understand social networks. A framework composed of three components, collaborative IT tools, talent management and networked work processes, to enable and apply social networks is also introduced.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Network Analysis: A structured methodology to analyze the relationships among nodes in a network, where nodes can represent individuals, groups, or organizations. The results of the analysis can be used as a diagnostic to inform the manager of the current structure of the social network and where information silos exist.

Wiki: A web page or collection of web pages that allow multiple users to co-author – access, add, delete, and edit content.

Social Bookmaking/Tagging: An IT tool that allows users to bookmark content and then tag (or label) the content with meaningful keywords. The social aspect of the tool means users can access and share bookmarks and tags.

Unstructured Knowledge: Knowledge that is difficult to classify and often exists in multiple formats, including text, audio, and video.

Collaboration Silos: Fragmentations in the organizational structure where barriers to collaboration and information flows exist. Typical barriers include functional, hierarchical, geographic, tenure, and cultural.

Web 2.0: A suite of social collaboration IT tools that enable users to generate and control content. Common examples of Web 2.0 tools include blogs, wikis, bookmarking/tagging and social networking sites.

Social Network: The people-to-people connections in organizations which depict work information flows.

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