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Knowledge Networking in the Public Sector

Summary

Publications & Results

Prototypes

Press Releases & News Stories

Partners

Funding Sources

Scope of Work

Related Web Sites

Contact Information

Summary
Social, organizational, political, and economic influences shape the creation, use, ownership, and governance of knowledge networks. These influences have a combined, interactive effect on the information and knowledge sharing processes in government (and other organizations as well). Rapid evolution of network telecommunication technologies and growing pressures to share information and work in collaborative ways have led to great interest in the successful development of knowledge networks.

This three-year research project, supported by the National Science Foundation, investigates seven initiatives led by New York State and local agencies. These initiatives depend on sharing knowledge and information across multiple organizations.

This study examines the formation and operation of knowledge networks in the public sector, exploring the dimensions of success and how organizational, technological, and political factors influence outcomes. The study has developed an enhanced model of knowledge network formation and operation in the public sector. In addition, this research has resulted in recommendations to practitioners about planning and implementing knowledge networks.

Publications & Results
Journal Articles and Conference Papers (1)
Article Cover
Authority and Leadership Patterns in Public Sector Knowledge Networks
Thu, 01 Mar 2007 >Download PDF
Knowledge and information-sharing networks are emerging in an increasing number of government programs and policy arenas. This article reports the results of an exploratory investigation into ways in which leadership and formal authority shaped the course of four knowledge network initiatives. The study treats authority as both formal and perceived. Leadership is assessed in terms of style, focus, and communication strategies. Analysis of the various authority and leadership patterns found in the case studies generated a set of hypotheses with regard to their influence on success of knowledge networks. Finding s reveal that formal authority, perceived authority, and a variety of leadership behaviors appear to have important influence on the development and performance of public sector knowledge networks. These factors affect the ability of such networks to achieve their substantive goals and the degree to which these efforts provide satisfying and useful networking relationships among the participants.

Conference Papers and Presentations (13)

Black, L, Cresswell, A.M., Pardo, T.A., Thompson, F., Canestraro, D.S., Cook, M., Luna, L.F., Martinez, I.J., Andersen, D. & Richardson, G. (January, 2003). A dynamic theory of collaboration: A structural approach to facilitating intergovernmental use of information technology. Paper presented at the 36th Hawaiian International Conference on System Sciences.

Prototypes
Of the seven cases in this research, two involved the development of prototypes.


Press Releases & News Stories
Press Releases

Center for Technology in Government Receives $1 Million Grant from NSF: Largest Grant in Center History To Focus on Knowledge Networks
Tue, 28 Sep 1999

News Stories


Partners
Government Partners

Center for Technology in Government


Funding Sources
This material is based upon work supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. SES-9979839. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Original Scope of Work
This study examines the formation and operation of knowledge networks in the public sector. The research is based on seven empirical cases involving groups of agencies in New York State. In each case, agencies are engaged in programmatic or administrative innovations that depend on the sharing of knowledge and information across multiple organizations. We identify the dimensions of success and their relationship to how organizational, technological, and political factors influence results. The study has developed an enhanced model of knowledge network formation and operation in the public sector. In addition, this research has resulted in recommendations to practitioners about planning and implementing knowledge networks.

This three-year study has addressed the following research questions:


Existing research on these questions has applied a number of disciplinary lenses and identified an abundance of characteristics, activities, factors, and conditions as relevant to effective knowledge networks. The complexity of the environment in which knowledge networks develop is mirrored in the complexity of the research insights, yielding an understanding of this phenomenon that is both confusing and incomplete. This complexity is especially unsatisfying for practitioners, who have little guidance from the research literature that would help them maximize their chances for developing successful knowledge networks. This work develops a more coherent model of the way these networks function.

This study employs action research methods with actual public sector initiatives as they were being developed, together with a study of one successful benchmark initiative. Each of the seven initiatives has been studied as a distinct case, using a comparative case study design. Because of CTG's unique project-based collaboration with New York State government agencies, the researchers in this study have exceptional access to these organizations, their staff, their partners, and their customers. The findings from these case studies help clarify the factors that lead to successful knowledge networks, as well as leading to results that can be immediately applied in government operations.

The knowledge networks examined in this research are treated as a combination of interorganizational relationships, policies, information content, work processes, and technology tools and architectures brought together to achieve collectively defined purposes. The conceptual framework identifies the main types of influences, processes, and outcomes to be examined and posits ways in which they interact to influence the success. This framework has guided the data collection and analysis. The results of the analysis have lead us to revise and expand the framework to better reflect the results. The revised framework, and the resulting propositions about influences on knowledge and information sharing, will form the basis for further research and serve as guidance for building and operating future knowledge networks in the public sector.

The Seven Initiatives Led by State and Local Agencies

The seven projects represent an array of critically important innovations in public services and public management. Their success relies in large measure on the understanding, creation, and implementation of knowledge networks. In each case, public agencies are designing and instituting major changes in the philosophy and operation of key service and administrative programs. They are moving away from centralized, command and control management models toward collaborative and distributed ways of working. Each initiative involves multiple governments and organizations and is led by the agency listed below.


Related Web Sites

The Intergovernmental Solutions Program

http://www.albany.edu/igsp/
A partnership between the University at Albany's Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy and New York State to develop a professional learning community focused on intergovernmental effectiveness. Program goals are to capture and share knowledge about how successful intergovernmental work occurs.

National Science Foundation

http://www.nsf.gov

Contact Information
Center for Technology in Government
University at Albany, SUNY
187 Wolf Road, Suite 301
Albany, NY 12205
(518) 442-3892 (phone)
(518) 442-3886 (fax)
Fiona Thompson
Project Manager
(518) 442-3892