A Situational Knowledge Network Nexus Building Approach: Kernel Theory Extensions using Design Science Research

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Abstract

When organizations realize that they need to innovate, they often have their knowledge workers participate in inter-organizational “knowledge networks” that have the purpose of developing their participants’ skills and competencies through facilitated meetings. The main problem of knowledge networks is that it can be difficult to evaluate whether the network group is “healthy” and follows its purpose and whether its participants gain any value as a result, so the design problem faced in this study was “How to design a tool to assist network coordinators with the continuous development of network groups.” The problem was broken into three sub-problems: identifying the types of knowledge networks, identifying a tool for gauging a knowledge network’s “health,” and identifying a process through which knowledge networks can be effectively established, maintained, and ended. The problem was complicated by the need to identify common interests among the knowledge networks’ main stakeholders, for whom the solution had to provide value. The stakeholder groups were identified as network sponsors, network facilitators, and network participants. Three artifacts were designed to solve the problems identified. Artifact 1 was a visualization of the process of how to establish, maintain, operate, and evaluate and/or end a knowledge network. To support this process, two additional interactive artifacts were designed. The second artifact was a document called a “network charter” to be used by the facilitator and network participants at the beginning of and during the knowledge network process. The third artifact was an assessment tool for assessing seven key parameters of the selected knowledge network using a radar chart. Three main lessons were learned in the DSR project. First, we found that the DSR approach can be beneficial in creating new kernel theories, not just design theory. The concept of knowledge network archetypes was extracted through a combination of a literature review on knowledge networks and through the empirical activities involved in uncovering participant value and network facilitators’ evaluation of the artifacts. Second, we learned that designing artifacts that provide value to various stakeholders with asymmetric power relationship on multiple levels should be pursued by DSR researchers. Third, DSR can be used to provide situational solutions, not just normative ones.
Translated title of the contributionEn tilgang til at bygge nexus til situationelle videndelingsnetværk : Kernelteoretiske udvidelser via Design Science Research
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDesign Science Research : Cases
EditorsJan Vom Brocke, Alan Hevner, Alexander Maedche
Number of pages31
PublisherSpringer
Publication date2 Dec 2020
Pages261-288
Chapter11
ISBN (Print)9783030467807
ISBN (Electronic)9783030467814
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2020
SeriesProgress in IS
ISSN2196-8705

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