Social Networks and KMS Use in US IT Services

  • William J. Dixon
Part of the IFIP – The International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 274)


Little is known about how people, contexts, and tools impact decisions to use a Knowledge Management System (KMS). The purpose of this study was to better understand information retrieval when solving difficult problems. Key research questions focused on social structure, interpersonal relationships, and nature of the KMS. In this sequential exploratory study, semi-structured interviews were conducted and surveys were distributed to a purposive sample of 299 technology support personnel in a large accounting firm. Thematic analysis was applied against interview outcomes, and survey responses were analyzed using ANOVA and confirmed with the Kruskal-Wallis test. Social structure analysis showed fewer structural holes within networks among routine KMS users. Contrary to social resource theory, information was rarely sought from supervisors. Reciprocal information exchange accompanied asking for help, but not when information was retrieved from the KMS. In addition, formal designation of experts, electronic instant messaging (IM), and KMS minimized the impact of geographic disparity. The KMS facilitated the distribution of information and enabled learning but was not uniformly adopted. Recommendations for practice include the strategic designation of experts and refinement of mechanisms available for information retrieval.


Social Network Information Retrieval Knowledge Management Instant Messaging Knowledge Management System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • William J. Dixon
    • 1
  1. 1.Americas IT, Ernst & Young LLPHoustonUS

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