Title: The elephant in the room: the applicability of axiomatic approaches to network learning and organisational knowledge

Authors: John H. Powell, Juani Swart

Addresses: University of Stellenbosch Business School, University of Stellenbosch, PO Box 610, Bellville 7535, South Africa. ' Director Work and Employment Research Centre, School of Management, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, UK

Abstract: Existing network literature focuses at the network rather than knowledge networks, exhibiting an inability to speak of knowledge as a scalable phenomenon. In order to advance understanding of knowledge and learning in networks we present a theoretical framework which addresses how knowledge itself behaves at the network level. First, we discuss a scaling function for knowledge which operates on a concept set, measuring the strength and number of connections between the various constructs therein. Second, we declare a three-tiered framework relating problem-, knowledge- and information-spaces which underwrite the strength of a particular knowledge structure. A case study of a defence project illustrates this. The purpose of this paper is to show how these interrelated ideas bear upon the study of knowledge in networks, particularly in respect of knowledge dispersion, hetero- and homogeneity and upon the study of knowledge as a flow property of generalised social networks.

Keywords: epistemetrics; homogeneity; heterogeneity; knowledge networks; network learning; organisational knowledge; defence projects; knowledge dispersion; social networks; organisational learning; knowledge management; knowledge measures; problem spaces; knowledge spaces; information spaces; knowledge structure.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2010.035592

European Journal of International Management, 2010 Vol.4 No.6, pp.621 - 643

Published online: 30 Sep 2010 *

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