Creating knowledge networks: lessons from practice

Mikael Schönström (PhD student at Informatics, Lund University, Sweden. His research interest covers knowledge management enablers and how knowledge networks can be used to enable knowledge creation and sharing. He is currently studying knowledge enablers in software organizations. Mikael has presented his research at several international conferences. In parallel to his research he is an employee at IBM Global Services.)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Publication date: 1 December 2005



The purpose of the research is to study the set‐up processes of formal networks in a multinational high‐tech corporation consisting of multiple business units. The aim is to learn more about what management can do in order to support the fragile process of setting up new knowledge networks.


The research project had a problem‐solving approach, which is why action research was selected as the method.


Based on the research the following findings are discussed: identify and support knowledge activists, put knowledge networks on the strategic agenda, formal networks being vulnerable to major organizational changes, create an understanding for how formal networks can coexist with the line organization.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations of the study relate to the fact that the knowledge networks were set up within the same company. That the knowledge networks were set up during a turbulent time when cost reductions were a top priority may also limit the generalizability of the findings.

Practical implications

The findings of the research can help managers to set up a knowledge network successfully. If management is aware of the issues that could be encountered in a knowledge network set‐up, the chances for a successful knowledge network implementation will be enhanced.


Systematic research regarding the actual process of a knowledge network set‐up is lacking. This research fills this gap by the practical characteristics of the research project and its practical implications for management.



Schönström, M. (2005), "Creating knowledge networks: lessons from practice", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 9 No. 6, pp. 17-29.

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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