International Construction Specialty Conference of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (ICSC) (5th : 2015)

Do strong or weak ties matter in knowledge networks? Poleacovschi, Cristina; Javernick-Will, Amy N.

Abstract

Construction and engineering organizations have increasingly implemented knowledge exchange strategies with the goal to facilitate knowledge exchange across the organization. However, despite these efforts, many knowledge strategies fail in practice, as it is not well known when knowledge access is most beneficial. This research analyzes the correlation between group level knowledge exchange and perceived individual benefits. Specifically, we focus on the time saved (in hours per month) on work tasks as a result of accessing knowledge with others in the department. To conduct this research, we used social network analysis and a modularity optimization algorithm to identify the existing knowledge-based subgroups (KBS)—subgroups that share more knowledge internally then externally—within a large engineering and construction organization. To identify whether these knowledge based subgroups offer time benefits, we compared the time benefits from receiving knowledge within these subgroups and outside these subgroups. Results found that individuals are more likely to perceive saving time on work tasks as a result of receiving knowledge within their subgroups. As a result, our results indicate that the type of benefit received matters to determine whether weak ties or strong ties are important.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada

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