From Atomism to Networks in Social Systems

Informal networks provide a critical mechanism for learning and knowledge transfer in organisations. The growth of methods and tools to understand social networks suffer from a variety of issues related to the formalisation of natural processes, some of which are fatal to their sustained use as means of understanding the interactions between individuals.

It is argued such tools are useful if we (i) switch the unit of analysis from the atomism of individuals to the coalescence of identities and (ii) use non-Jungian archetypes as a representation to reveal difference perceptions of learning and knowledge exchanges within organisations. Moving beyond analysis a new technique, social network stimulation is explored which aims to stimulate the formulation of cross silo informal communities, and reduce the degrees of separation, based on trusted exchange, to the point where the need for formal management of knowledge and learning is minimised?

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