Towards Understanding the Successful Adoption of Blog-Based Knowledge Management Systems: A Socio-Psychological Approach

Towards Understanding the Successful Adoption of Blog-Based Knowledge Management Systems: A Socio-Psychological Approach

Joowon Park (Information and Communications University, South Korea), Sooran Jo (Information and Communications University, South Korea) and Junghoon Moon (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-368-5.ch043
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Abstract

Knowledge has been recognized as a valuable resource for organizational activities. As businesses are entering the world of Web 2.0, knowledge sharing is widely regarded as a critical issue in the area of organizational knowledge management (KM). Recently, organizations have started adopting blog-based knowledge management systems (KMS) with encouraging results. Used as a tool for sharing organizational knowledge, blogging can aggregate the intellectual power of individual members, serve as innovative KMS, and lead to the creation of a trust-based corporate culture. However, despite the increasing adoption of blogs by organizations, a theoretical framework for understanding a blog-based KMS has not been developed. This chapter attempts to present a framework for understanding a blog-based KMS in an organizational setting, grounded in a socio-psychological approach and the application of social identity and symbolic interaction theories.
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Background

Blogging is known to enhance information diffusion and knowledge sharing between users (Gruhl, Liben-Nowell, Guha, & Tomkins, 2004). Although the content of most blogs is personal, there are many topic-oriented blogs related to specific interests or to business promotions. In this regard, blogs are sometimes used by organizations as educational or knowledge management tools (e.g., blogs at Sun Microsystems), and this type of blog use is growing (Cayzer, 2004; Maag, 2005).

Because blogs are relatively low cost and easy to maintain, the employment of blogs in the business world is growing. Currently, organizations are using blogs for internal information sharing and knowledge management applications (Ives & Watlington, 2005; Wagner & Bolloju, 2005). Blogs can be viewed as a technology (King, 2007) and a communication channel (Holt, 2005). Information shared within corporate blogs may include: industry or company news, strategy brainstorming, activities within specific department, and the sharing of customer related information (Holtz, 2005).

However, as businesses come to view the blog as a KMS, qualms about the possible side effects of corporate blogs emerge. These concerns include: a waste of work time, loss of productivity, reluctance of employees to share knowledge, and increasing bandwidth requirements. Consequentially, the number of businesses managing corporate blogs for knowledge sharing purposes is currently insignificant. Even after the adoption of blogs, concerns about the posting of inappropriate content remain. Although it is now easier for employees to express ideas and share knowledge through blogs, companies do not generally provide complete freedom to their employees. For example, Sun Microsystems (2008) has provided its employees with guidelines for proper blogging.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Comparison: The process by which a social categorization is invested with meaning.

Social Identity: An individual’s knowledge that a person belongs to a certain social group associated with emotional and valued significance of group membership.

Symbolic Interaction Theory: A theory that sees human interaction as being mediated by the use of symbols, signification, and interpretation to ascertain the meaning of one another’s actions.

Socialization: The process by which an individual becomes a part of a group.

Self-Categorization: A social identity provided by social groups to their members so that group members can have a positive distinctiveness in terms of we rather than I.

Wiki: An expandable collection of interlinked web pages allowing anyone who accesses the page to add or modify its content.

Social Identification: The process by which information about social groups is relayed to its members.

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