External networks as scaffolds

December 19, 2012

In Learning Layers project one concept we are exploring is networked scaffolding.

In this paper i found how external networks as scaffolds may scaffold the workers differently, depending of their work-position:


Knowledge-sourcing of R&D workers in different job positions: Contextualising external personal knowledge networks by Franz Huber

Research Policy 42 (2013) 167– 179

The knowledge sourcing behaviour from external personal networks varies according to job positions.

– the lower the job position, the less important are external personal knowledge networks.

– for non-managerial engineers, inter-organisational knowledge relationships tend to operate via professional publications or online discussion forums rather than via personal networks.

– for managing directors, external personal networks tend to be important than external personal networks

The significance of external personal networks vis-ąvis alternative sources of knowledge was scrutinised by examining the kinds of knowledge that are available uniquely through external personal networks. The results reveal that the most frequent type concerns business knowledge rather than technological knowledge. This strengthens the findings that personal networks are most important for managerial job positions.

technical, non-managerial R&D workers finds alternative sources of knowledge such as internal colleagues or the internet significantly more significant than external personal networks

– the usefulness of external personal networks varies for knowledge functions: they are significantly more important for exploratory practices of keeping up-to-date with the latest technological developments than for more focused problem-solving practices.

– external personal knowledge networks are more important for primarily technology-driven firms that gain competitiveness through cutting-edge technological knowledge than for firms driven by other factors such as knowledge about market needs.


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