Wiki, viden og videndeling

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Videndeling er kommet mere i fokus rundt omkring i organisationer. Derfor er håndteringen af vores viden også blevet mere vigtig, hvilket dette speciale sætter fokus på.

The preserving and managing of knowledge is of interest to many organizations today. With employees shifting jobs more frequently, and people spread all over the world, the interest in international knowledge sharing and knowledge creation has increased. Along with the increased interest in knowledge management, we see new tools for managing knowledge more and more often, and some of these are based on wiki software. Wiki based technology used for knowledge management, allows employees to share their knowledge with the rest of the organization, and in addition allowing others to edit, discuss and change that knowledge in a cooperative manner, and it differentiates itself from traditional knowledge management tools, by its seemingly ease of use, and not least user-based control.

 

But how can wikis be watercoolers? It is often said that management fails to recognize the valuable conversations carried around the watercooler. And yet some may value it, but might not consider the potential of capturing this knowledge, in the process of being created. The title of the thesis refers to the wikis ability to capture these conversations, in which knowledge is shared and combined, and thus becomes new and valuable knowledge to the organization.

 

The case example chosen for this thesis is Wikipedia. Wikipedia is the online encyclopedia written and edited by the more than 75.000 contributors, who all contribute voluntarily. The structure of Wikipedia is fairly simple, and consists of wiki pages (which currently count ten million) and the discussion pages found behind each wiki page. The discussion pages are where contributors to the wiki page discuss its content and not least its validity. The discussion pages are the primary interest of this thesis. Here, contributors to the wiki pages engage in sometimes lengthy (written) discussions, in which the contents of the wiki pages are ‘negotiated’. The process of negotiation involves the sharing of explicit knowledge, and sometimes the externalization of implicit knowledge.

 

The theoretical lens is Nonaka and Takeuch's description of knowledge creation as a process of knowledge conversion, and for the purpose of identifying processes of knowledge conversion, James Paul Gee’s notion of the seven building tasks was utilized. According to Gee (2006) we always and simultaneously build seven different realities, and that these realities represent our perception of the world, and what we consider good, significant and relevant. Moreover we use them to illustrate what type of activity we are engaging in, how we identify ourselves, and what type of relationship we wish to have with whom we are speaking to.

 
The findings of the analysis led me to conclude that the wiki can be a place for the process of combining externalized knowledge, and that the wiki is a place to not only capture knowledge, but also to capture the process of negotiating that knowledge. This provides users with a unique opportunity to see how that given knowledge was negotiated and the underlying reasons for the arguments and the consensus reached.  

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