Using Social Network Analysis to Improve Communities of Practice

by Rob Cross, Andrew Parker, Tim Laseter, Guillermo Velasquez

Fall 2006

Volume 49
Issue 1

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Although many organizations initiate communities of practice to drive performance and innovation, managers typically have little insight into their internal effectiveness and business impact. This article offers network analytics, interventions, and metrics (both in terms of network connectivity and business outcomes) to improve and track the success of such community initiatives. Specifically, it shows how social network analysis can help move a community from an ad hoc, informal group to a value-producing network by focusing on five critical levers: improving information flow and knowledge reuse; developing an ability to sense and respond to key problems or opportunities; driving planned and emergent innovation; nurturing value-creating interactions; and engaging employees through community efforts.

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