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Personal knowledge networks have been primarily conceived by researchers with regard to the inter-firm knowledge sources between organisations, where networks are informal and personal. Instead of looking at the organisational context, some researchers investigate the intra-firm aspects at personal level of organisational knowledge networks, where knowledge management processes start and end. Various technologies and behaviours support personal knowledge networking for example wikis, Really Simple Syndication (RSS) and relationship networks. Interest is also being driven by the realization that KM can happen without a lot of explicit governance. This trend is called "grass-roots KM" as opposed to traditional, top-down enterprise KM.
PKN expands through grass-roots adoption within virtual teams and communities. As a result, the tools in which an enterprise may invest for enterprise KM may not get as much usage as expected — particularly when operational support is weak for those technology solutions.
Origin of PKN
With the continuous operation of knowledge management in enterprises, new models are emerging all the time to meet the ongoing demands. In recent years, it is found that, apart from formal arrangements for official alliances,individuals often know each other and interact beyond official duties, which can lead to knowledge flows and learning.
- Drawbacks of Traditional Knowledge Management
- Traditional Knowledge Management focuses more on technology rather than on social interaction. Organizations should first look to the culture inherent inside which significantly affects the social interaction among members involved in.
- Technical Support from Social Network
- Social software provides an answer to its previous question. It is a means of giving people what they want in terms of their traditional knowledge management activities, in a way that also benefits the firm.
Comparison between KM and PKN
- Content-centric vs User-centric
- Content-based process is regarded as a major factor which leads to Knowledge Management's incompatibility in current situation. In contrast, user-based process focuses on each individual in a learning process. That makes the driving force of knowledge shift from content database of organizations to learner(users) themselves. Furthermore, comparing with data or information, knowledge can only be evaluated or managed by individuals, which implies its identical feature.
- Centralised vs Distributed
- In PKN model, knowledge learning is undertaken with a high consideration of its natural feature - distributed format. In comparison, centralised feature has been proved to perform well in guiding a organized and structural learning session. But the well-formatted guidance could hardly satisfy the various and timely requirements from nowadays users.
- Top-down vs Bottom-up
- Top-down models and hierarchical controlled structures are the enemies of innovation. In general, learners and knowledge workers love to learn but they hate not to be given the freedom to decide how they learn and work (Cross,2003). For this fact, a better way in coping with this system is to let them develop and emerge naturally, in a freeform way, which could be abstracted to a bottom-up structure.
- Enforcement vs Voluntary
- Traditional KM mainly undertake a pushing model which sets the users in a passive way by simply providing content and expecting the learning process will happen. This model is not sufficient to improve learners' motivation. Considering the dynamic and flexible nature of learning process, LM and KM approaches require a shift in emphasis from a knowledge-push to a knowledge-pull model. PKN provides a more attractive platform, where users could locate content only with their needs from information repositories.
- Personal knowledge search tools instead of searching on the corporate intranet
- Instant messaging and Short Message Service (SMS) instead of the telephone or e-mail
- Peer-to-peer file sharing instead of enterprise file servers
- A wiki instead of a team collaboration space
- "Blogging" instead of the enterprise's Web content management.
- Ismail, S.; Ahmad, M.S.; , ‘Emergence of personal knowledge networks in agent-mediated PKM processes: A qualitative analysis in Malaysian context, Computer & Information Science (ICCIS), 2012 International Conference on Computer & Information Science (ICCIS), 2012 vol.1, no., pp.72-78, 12–14 June 2012
- F. Huber, “ Contextualising the Role of Extra-Firm Personal Networks as a Source of Work- Related Knowledge”, Organisational Learning, Knowledge and Capabilities (OLKC) Conference, Hull, UK , 2011
- Delmonte, A.J. and Aronson, J.E. (2004) ‘The relationship between social interaction and knowledge management system success’, Journal of Knowledge Management Practice, Vol. 5.
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- Cross, J. (2005) ‘Educating ourselves at emerging’, Internet Time Blog.
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