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Carl von Ossietzky Universität
Fakultät 1, Arbeitsbereich Weiterbildung
D-26111 Oldenburg, Germany
Collective blogging from the view of a context-oriented understanding of knowledge potentialities and challenges of blogging in organizations
Weblogs experience growing attention as a tool for knowledge workers in enterprises, scientific institutions and NGOs. They are used to store, organise and generate information and knowledge. Context dependancy of information and knowledge is emphasized by social scientists who discuss KM related topics. From this point of view transcontextual transfer of knowledge between the members of an organisation is difficult.
As a consequence, the convergence of the models, the views on the organisational goals and the perceptions of the organisation’s internal and external environment on behalf of the organisational members enables them to share information and knowledge.
A theoretically elaborated model of sharing and using knowledge within organisations is formulated by the sociologist Helmut Willke. With his point of view he explores the possibilities and limitations inherent in depersonalization of knowledge, which is crucial for knowledge management. In the late 1990s he introduced microarticles as the connecting link between personal and organisational knowledge. This concept anticipated in parts the practice of K-logging.
Willke's thoughts on KM can therefore lead to a better understanding of collective blogging within teams and organisations. The interdependant relationship of knowledge and shared contexts and experiences is crucial here.
I am going to illustrate the application of above mentioned technology by introducing an action research project which I carried out in the summer of 2003. 15 employees of an organisation unit of the University of Oldenburg, who were engaged in developing and implementing new study programs in the field of further education, were encouraged to use weblogs for organisational and planning purposes. The goal of this project was to obtain a deeper understanding of the ways people contextualize their observations in blog entries and how collectively written weblogs can enhance the sharing of experiences and lead to more convergent points of views among their authors.
Categorization of the blog entries and the analysis of an accompanying survey with explorative methods of research delivered first insights into how the employees used weblogs to coordinate their daily work as well as the processes of planning. Afterwards I presented blog entries of a four-month-period to a test subject which was totally uninvolved in the work structures concerned. He was asked to extract any obtainable information on the context contained in the blog and to build and explicate his own model of the structures of the organisation unit concerned.
The triangulation of the different parts of the examination was reflected against the background of the theoretical concepts as described above.
The following results were deduced:
The majority of the entries was created very close to a triggering incident – people seldom scheduled to write an entry on a specific topic. Most blog entries contained “fresh” impressions.
Contexts are stored in a holistical way within clusters of blog entries. Even people lacking any extra information on the organisation’s internal environment can easily construct a lot of context information. Metadata (e. g. title, date, author, categories) enables uninformed individuals to build clusters of blogentries which contain specific storylines.
Collectively written blogs do facilitate people to develop a shared point of view on their work and the organisation they work in. But the benefits of collective blogging are determined by the convergence of the peoples ideas about the purposes of the practice of blogging. These intentions should be discussed and explicated to unleash the full potentialities of any KM-related deployment of blog-based technologies.
last update: Friday, July 23, 2004 at 10:32:51 AM-----------------------