Behrend, Frank D. and Erwee, Ronel (2009) Mapping knowledge flows in virtual teams with SNA. Journal of Knowledge Management, 13 (4). pp. 99-114. ISSN 1367-3270
Text (Accepted Version)
Purpose - The aim of the paper is to illustrate the use of Social Network Analysis (SNA) to map information and knowledge flow in six virtual project teams with members of diverse cultures in private and public sector companies in different sectors.
Methodology/approach - Due to the area of research, the authors supplemented the in-depth interviews with an embedded SNA questionnaire and two stage analysis.
Findings - The SNA findings demonstrated that network ties are useful predictors of how information and knowledge flows in virtual project teams and can be better indicators than formal project structures. assessment of participants’ prestige, activity and influence and their generic formal team functions, thus leadership, member and support roles.
Research limitations/implications – SNA does not yield information about causal factors, context or history of the team contributing to the current team relationships.
Practical implications - SNA as a method in this study delivers information on diverse members' influence, prestige and specific team member-related brokerage roles. It highlights what boundary-crossing knowledge sharing activities they engage in and maps the knowledge and information flows between members of the virtual project teams within the companies.
Originality/value of paper. The multi-method research design represents a sound approach to target knowledge management in virtual project environments in international contexts.
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