The constructive management of existing knowledge and the access to and
development of new knowledge has become essential to organisations. Since tacit
knowledge can often not be captured or documented, knowledge is often created and
shared through social interaction within organisations. Relationships are thus
fundamental to knowledge creation and knowledge transfer and the various forms of
social networks existing within organisations play a primary role in leveraging these
relationships. This study followed the socialisation philosophy as reflected in the
works of Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) and Hansen et al. (1999), where the creation
and sharing of knowledge occurs primarily by way of social interaction between
individuals. The said interaction typically occurs within informal networks, also
known as knowledge networks (Helms & Buijsrogge 2006).
In recent times there has been a growing awareness of social network analysis (SNA)
as an instrument to plot knowledge and expertise as well as to confirm the character
of connections in informal networks (Cross et al. 2004; Chan & Liebowitz 2006;
Müller-Prothmann 2006; Murale & Raju 2013; Cooke & Hall 2013; D'Errico et al.
2014). In line with the aforementioned studies, this study intended to investigate how
the integration of networking into KM can produce significant advantages for
This research intended to outline a method for organisations to strengthen their social
capital by analysing, shaping and reinforcing their knowledge networks, thereby
enhancing the manner in which they share and create knowledge. Subsequently the
main research problem of this study was to investigate how knowledge networks can
be improved as a result of synergies between SNA, CoPs and knowledge maps. The
researcher attempted to illustrate via this question that cultivating synergies between
SNA, CoPs and knowledge maps will enable organisations to produce stronger
knowledge networks and ultimately increase their social capital.
In order to execute this study, the researcher developed a process map with the aim of
demonstrating exactly how knowledge networks could be advanced as a result of
synergies between SNA, CoPs and knowledge maps. This process map - which
answers the "how" in this question - is presented as the new contribution that this
study makes towards any organisation wanting to reinforce knowledge networks. It is
anticipated that this research will enable organisations to enrich their knowledge networks and expand their social capital by building on the process map that was
developed and implemented in this study.