Wednesday, November 14, 2007

National Knowledge Management Research meeting "Made in Holland" (9)

Lilia Efimova (Telematica Instituut): Employee weblogs: a knowledge management approach

Lilia is conducting her PhD research on ‘employee blogging’. She’ll present part of her research results here. This part of her research was published in Efimova & Grudin (2007), Crossing Boundaries: A case study of Employee Blogging.

Weblogs are:
- used as a (personal) KM instrument
- passion driven, bottom-up tools in a (non-)business environment
- used as a research tool

Lilia investigated employee blogging at Microsoft (- at that moment 10% of MS employees were blogging).

Why do people at Microsoft use work-related weblogs:
- To communicate directly with others inside and outside of the organization
- To document and organize their own work
- To showing the human side of the company (Within Microsoft employees are not asked to blog about why they’re proud of the company by their managers. They themselves want to write about why they’re proud and why things go the way they’re going. They don’t like to be called ‘evil’.)
- It’s task-related: blogging could accelerate use of MS tools, help them to get feedback on features, provide them relevant external information, advertise events, etc.

What are the effects of blogging?
- it helps finding time for the important
- it helps to document the undocumented
- it accelerates knowledge flows
- reuse of information is supported
- it makes expertise more visible
- unexpected connections emerge
- improved reputation based on what you write
- it helps to get things done
- it can lead to information overload
- power shifts. E.g.: communicate via your public blog gets more done internally, because when it’s public the organization listens quicker.
- lack of control (over reputation and information flows)

What are the implications of weblogs for knowledge management?
- personal passions have a (legitimate) place at work
- microactions aggregate over time
- transparency is here to stay (weblogs open up organizations)
- connections with others are unexpected
- information overload is an issue (due to commenting and feed reading)
- everyday routines to post on your weblog matter (integrating it into your work)
- authority is fluid due to bottom-up nature of weblogs

- controls are shared (relate to ‘lack of control’ above)

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