Communities and other Social Structures for Knowledge Sharing - A Case Study in an Internet Consultancy Company
Springer London, Dordrecht Amsterdam
This research aims at understanding how people share knowledge in their everyday work in a project-based company. The social structures for knowledge sharing are characterised as formal, informal, and quasi-informal structures. They vary from those with high formalisation to the informal, and even include structures which are invisible and unrecognised in the organisation. They also vary in their composition. They may share the same or different space, and communication is based on face-to-face or virtual interaction. Data was collected by means of documents and interviews (n=18) during the autumn of 2002 and the winter of 2003 from an Internet consultancy company. The study shows the great variety of formal, informal, and quasi-informal social structures that are used for knowledge sharing in the case company. In all, sixteen different structures were found. The number of formal structures is smaller than the number of informal ones. Their analysis in terms of five dimensions also shows their great heterogeneity.