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Knowledge Perspectives on Dynamic Capability

12 Jan

Recently the manuscript of my PhD student Jurriaan van Reijsen has been approved. The title of the manuscript is: Knowledge Perspectives on Dynamic Capability. Dynamic capability is about the capability of organizations to adapt to their environment and to stay competitive. The ability to learn, and hence knowledge processes, play a pivotal role in this capability. In his thesis Jurriaan presents the three different knowledge perspectives that he used to study Dynamic Capability, namely:

1) the adoption of knowledge management policies
2) the availability of social capital
3) the structure of knowledge networks in organization

Jurriaan and I published several papers on these topics and are part of his thesis that he will publicly defend on March 19 from 16.15-17.00 hrs. A summary of his thesis (in Dutch and English) is available on Jurriaan’s blog.

Before the public defense on March 19, 2014, there will be a symposium to celebrate Jurriaan’s dissertation and guest speakers on this event include Dr. Robin Teigland (Stockholm School of Economic, Sweden), Prof. Marleen Huysman (Free University, Amsterdam) and Arjan van Unnik (former Global Head KM at Royal Dutch Shell). For more information and registration:

I enjoyed exploring Knowledge Management, Knowledge Network Analysis and Dynamic Capability with Jurriaan. Currently, there are already plans for follow up publications so it does not stop here.

X-ray of the @AISconnect community

18 Dec

For a year now I am a department editor for the Association of Information Systems (AIS) and responsible for their Twitter initiative. In brief the idea is to use Twitter to create a community of IS scholars around the @Aisconnect Twitter account by re-tweeting messages from IS scholars that follow the account and are of general interest for the IS community. Furthermore, we build a list of Information Systems scholars using the Twitter list functionality so that every interested IS scholar can check what there fellow IS scholars have to say.

In November 2012 we have more than 150 followers and almost as many scholars on the IS list. This a good moment to make an X-ray of the IS scholar community using social network analysis techniques (software used is NetMiner). The X-ray shows who is connected with whom in the AISconnect community because he is following that other person. In collecting the data we scanned the 1st and 2nd degree followers of @AISconnect and determined which of the AISconnect followers are following each other. By applying the Furchterman-Reingold algorithm (so-called Spring algorithm) we created a sociogram that is shown in the figure below.


The labels next to the nodes represent the names of the Twitter accounts of the AISconnect followers and the lines show who is following whom. When a node has a lot of incoming arrows it means that he is followed by a lot of other AISconnect follewers and the most followed people (based on in-degree centrality) are: David Green (PhD in Management Information Systems at Chicago and 239 followers), Jonny Holmström (Informatics professor at Umeå and 462 followers) and Remko Helms (Assistant Professor in Information Systems at Utrecht and 304 followers ). When we look at who are the connectors in the network, i.e. often on shortest path between others, then the most central people are: David Green, Jonny Holmström, David Wastell (Professor of Information Systems in Nottingham and ).  David Green and Jonny Holmström can also be easily found in the centre of the figure above and are therefore said to be most influential in the @AISconnect community at the moment (just based on their position and not on tweeting activity!). The IS scholars that follow @AISconnect and have the most followers are:  John Gallaugher (3195 followers), Andrew Pope (1433 followers), and Hans Zimmerman (1390 followers). All these three are not far from the core of the network.

To check if the AIS connect community is split in sub-groups I also checked clustering using the Blondel community algorithm and the result is shown in the sociogram below. One of the groups that is easy to recognize for me is the Utrecht University cluster existing of professors, phd students, students and former colleagues. If other people recognize other clusters please leave your comment below! Although several sub groups exist there are also many lines crossing the boundaries of the sub-groups meaning that each group has sufficient links to other parts of the AIS connect community.


In the future I plan to make more X-rays of the @AISconnect community to see how it is developing. Please make your fellow IS colleages aware of this initiative and start following because only if enough people join we can benefit from network effects. But the my next post will look at the conversation at the #ICIS2012 conference that is currently taking place in Orlando.

The Internet Map

15 Aug

The other day I read an article in my news paper that reported about The Internet Map by Ruslan Enikeev. Using spiders he collected data about websites on the The Internet as well as the traffic on these website.  In total he indexed 350.000 websites from 196 countries and created a network map of them:

In this map the nodes (i.e. dots) represent websites and the size of the nodes represents the amount of web site traffic and therefore it is not strange that Google and Facebook are among the biggest nodes in the network. Relations are not shown in the picture but the Spring algorithm that is used to relatively position the nodes against each other uses relations between the websites that are based on the 2 million links that are collected between the sites. The algorithm reveals a clustering of the website and is strongest for countries as you can see by the color of the dots. Besides the clustering per country you can also reveal a clustering by topic.

It is interesting to browse the map for your country or topic of interest and find out what the most influential sites are (i.e. big nodes and central position in their local neighborhood). A small disadvantage is that the name of small nodes only become visible if you zoom in completely, a mouse over would have been nice to discover the name of these nodes.

Good to know: The Internet Map contains 350.000 website while Netcratft estimates that the total web consists of 630 million websites.

Social Media adoption by Dutch product software vendors

22 May

Social media can be used to listen to and engage with customers and many companies are already using social media to the benefit of their business. Customers are also an important source for feedback and input for Dutch product software vendors. But are Dutch product software vendors present on Social Media and to what extent are they using it? Are there differences between organizations that use Social Media? And how well do we do when compared to United States, which often seem to be step ahead in the adoption of new Technologies.  At the end of 2011, Stef Peeters, a master student of our Business Informatics program, and myself studied the adoption of Social Media by Dutch product software companies. The main findings are presented in this blog post.

Presence on Social Media

We studied twenty Dutch product software companies including small (6), medium (9) and large (5) companies. The following table shows the platforms on which Dutch product software companies are present the most. As you can see it all concerns very well known social media platforms in The Netherlands.

Table 1. Presence on social media platforms

The table shows for example that 5 out of 5 large companies use LinkedIn which represents 100% of the large companies and 1 of the small companies is using Vimeo representing 17% of the small companies. Hyves needs an explanation because it shows 0+5 for example for large companies. This means that we did not find accounts that were hosted by the company itself but nevertheless for all 5 companies Hyves accounts were found that were run by individuals feeling associated with the company.

Did we also look at other social media platforms but on which hardly any company was present? Sure we did and these social media platforms included blogs WordPress and Blogger, microblog Googlebuzz, social networks Yelp, Google+, MySpace and Netlog, and mediasharing sites Slideshare and Flickr. But because the low presence they were not further investigated.

Usage of Social Media

Being present on a social media platform does not necessarily mean that content is posted there and that there is interaction with customers.  Therefore, we studied at any activity during the 3 months preceding our research and the results are presented in the following table.

Table 2. Active use of social media platforms

First of all the N/A should be explained. For LinkedIn it is difficult to tell if there is activity as it is not really a medium for interaction. For Hyves we did not look at activity as the Hyves accounts were not managed by the companies themselves.  Secondly, it can be seen that the actual usage of social media is lower than the presence (in table 1). Except for Twitter, one can say that roughly 50% of the companies being present is also actually using it.

Differences between product software companies

Comparing the three size-based groups, we see that the larger companies are far more present at the four most used social media platforms than the smaller companies. An average of 90% of the large companies is present at these platforms, 72% of the medium companies is present and 54% of the small companies is present. This can have budgetary reasons but it can also be that larger companies see more benefits of using social media. For example, they have a bigger amount of customers and social media can be a good opportunity to reach them. But these and other potential reasons need to be studied in further research.

What was also noticed is that a lot of companies have separate accounts or pages. There could be for instance different accounts for different business units, different products or accounts dedicated to particular events (e.g. sponsored sports event or own event). It was found predominately the larger companies have separate accounts or pages.

Adoption level compared to US

As we have seen in the results of this study, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook are seen as the most important social media applications to use (table 1). But, the percentage of active users of YouTube (35%) and Facebook (25%) is lower (table 2). Thus it looks like the relevance of these applications is known but how to use it or for which purpose is not.  Comparing the usage rates of other industries (see Table 1 and Table 2) with the usage rates found during our study, we see some similarities and differences.

For the comparison we use the study of Culnan et al. (2010) in which the 500 largest companies of the U.S. are surveyed. 85% Of the IT companies in this study use Twitter, just like 80% of the companies in our study. Companies from other industries only have an usage rate of 50%. 80% Of the IT companies 80% use Facebook, while only 50% of the companies in our study use Facebook. However, if we only compare the large companies in our study (because the other study presents figures about the largest U.S companies) we see a usage rate of 80% as well. Unfortunately, the study does not provide data on social networks. However, it does provide data on blogs and it is remarkable that 55% of the companies use blogs and we found hardly any blogs in our sample. If we found them they were with larger companies though.

So the adoption rate of Dutch product software companies seems roughly to be comparable to that of IT companies in the US top500. Although it is fair to say that the US study was conducted already a year earlier.

More information or participation?

Please contact the principal researcher:


Culnan, M. J., McHugh, P. J., & Zubillaga, J. I. (2010). How Large U.S. Companies Can Use Twitter and Other Social Media to Gain Business Value. MIS Quarterly Executive, 9(4), 243–259.

Social media strategy: what’s in it for the customer?

21 Dec

If a company starts to use social media to support their business processes they typically start to reason how social media can support their business goals, i.e. how can we get more revenue or reduce costs. In other words, how can the use of social media benefit the company! The paper ‘Social Strategies that Work‘ by Mikolaj Jan Piskorski in Harvard Business Review (Nov 2011) also addresses this point and shows that companies should not focus on internal goals only but should also focus on the social needs of customer,  so what’s in it for the customer so that they are willing to contribute content that is useful for the organization. Examples of this content could be feedback on a product but also shopping preferences and shopping behavior for example. In order to get the customer to your social media initiative, a company should therefore ask themselves how their initiative will help customer build and strengthen their relationship. According Piskorski companies should therefore ask themselves how their social media initiative can do one of the following things:
– connect with strangers
– interact with stranger
– reconnect with friends
– interact with friends.

So if your company is embarking on some new social media initiative it might pay off to do the test and see if there is any value for your customer in order to predict the potential success of the social media initiative.

Another interesting article that reports on social media usage and strategy is this one:

Culnan, M. J., McHugh, P. J., & Zubillaga, J. I. (2010). How Large U.S. Companies Can Use Twitter and Other Social Media to Gain Business Value. MIS Quarterly Executive, 9(4), 243-259.

This might be the topic of a next blog post.