Saturday, August 2, 2008

Research topic

I have been thinking about using Social Exchange Theory as a critical perspective for my Social Network Analysis Project. I am looking at KM Blogs and they way information travels across blogrolls. Here are the factors influencing my thinking:
  1. Network Attractors
  2. Learning Theory
  3. Complexity Theory
Do these variables combine to create 'bloggers'? Let me try and explain my thinking.

Social Exchange Theory underpins this examination of the topic as it is a way of explaining why people blog. It postulates that bloggers must receive so benefit from their effort, as it is a return on effort (ROE) rather than a return on investment (ROI) transaction. I would also like to look at Bandura's theory of tridacdic reciprocal determinism, and how that links in with the notion of power. This would also link to point three and the way power lies in the ties rather than the individual (CAS?).

Network Attractors are those people that act selflessly, or at least consider the perspectives of other views and benefits to the larger organisation. Paradoxically, this opens them up to benefits of having a wider network. By blogging for no perceived benefit, are bloggers actually receiving benefits from say hit-rates?, comments? What are the costs apart from time? Abusive comments? 

Secondly, the act of writing as a way of learning, of actually acquiring, or reshaping your understanding of a topic by 'talking' about it in your head. Drucker said play to your strengths, and learning by reflecting is way up there, even for those with other learning style preferences. Is this a form of double-loop learning? Is it an essential aid to knowledge creation? The SECI models Combination mode? Or Kolbs' OADI model and his Design mode?

Thirdly, complexity and the creation of knowledge through the act of thinking. Snowden says you don't know something until you need to know it. By keeping a journal you are exercising those resources, making connections. The act of thinking stimulates those muscles and makes them stronger. When you are writing you are also creating work for an audience, and effectively you are having a one-way conversation with them, they are your 'phantom' community, and their thinking influences you as much as yours.

I also like the subtle yet polar qualities of chaos and complexity, and want to explore them with this project, but am not sure how to do it, or it is wise to further add to the mix?

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