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The subject of the authors’ research is informal social networks in enterprises.The methods and techniques used in various disciplines to discover the structure of these networks and draw conclusions on their function and quality are commonly grouped under the umbrella of social network analysis, SNA ().The article documents the results of a collaborative study by scientific project partners and a bank (Kreissparkasse Cologne).
The approach uses Social Network Analysis (SNA) to make it easier for executives to analyze and manage informal communications networks.
Its practical applicability is demonstrated by a case study.), knowledge workers already account for 70 % of the labor force in the USA and for more than 60 % of its added value.
Despite the importance of knowledge-intensive work, little is known about how to improve it compared to manual work processes.
This is because the work performed by knowledge workers is complex and hard to measure ().
Although logging of electronic communications has made considerable progress over the past few years, it is still extremely difficult to map personal interaction; manual approaches in particular are extremely error-prone.
The article shows how informal communication networks can be investigated by IT-based methods.To this end a novel, portable sensor platform – known as the Social Badge – was developed at the MIT Media Lab: the Social Badge is about the size of a cellular phone and is equipped with various sensors.It supports continuous measurement of the geographic position (Bluetooth), direction of movement and speed (tri-axial acceleration sensor), interaction (infrared sensor) and mood (microphone and speech analysis) of the person wearing it.This was achieved by means of self-evaluation interviews and personality tests.The results of the study show how conclusions on network structure at actor, group and organizational level, on staff personalities and the way staff communicates can be derived.16 million e-mails) were evaluated over a period of seven months.Besides this network data, data on the productivity of staff members and groups and on staff members’ personalities was collected.At the same time, these structures have a decisive influence on the ability of employees, workgroups and the whole enterprise to deliver superior performance as they determine how quickly information can be propagated across a network, or whether stake holding employees will be able to contact each other ().Knowledge management focuses on those parts of the organizational processes that are regarded as shapeable.Furthermore, mapping personal communication networks has been difficult and error-prone in the past, as findings have typically had to be reconstructed from third party or self-observation collected by means of interviews with the subjects of the study ().This is the starting point for this authorswill present the results of a research project that is currently in progress and whose aim it is to mitigate the deficits of existing approaches.