Peer Influence and Knowledge Management in Communities of Users and Practices

Giudicati, Gianna (2012) Peer Influence and Knowledge Management in Communities of Users and Practices. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

PDF - Doctoral Thesis


Knowledge is highly dispersed in companies, customer networks and, more generally, in markets. Various forms of knowledge influence collective results: experiential knowledge derived from shared socialization, practical knowledge, and scientific knowledge. This work aims at better understanding of how these types of knowledge affect collective results in communities of customers and of practice. In particular, collective results are interpreted on one hand as individual commitments in communities of customers, and, on the other, companies’ success in rapidly solving problematic urgencies through communities of practice. First, the effect of both experience and socialization is examined in the service sector, in order to investigate how the social structures of communities of customers influence commitment and retention. Second, communities of practice operating in high-risk sectors are analyzed to look for improvements in their structure by aiding the recombination of dispersed knowledge and more rapid access to those skills and competences required to solve urgent problem-solving processes. Various methods and tools are used to deal with these issues. In particular, cross network analyses and new methodological approaches, originally applied in the field of social ethology, are applied to study reality-mined data collected by radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags. In addition, a set of recently developed non-parametric methods is devised to deal with new methodological problems arising in studying socialization in networks. Recent debates in the marketing literature have emphasized methodological criticalities in discriminating between peer influence, homophily, and other confounding factors in real-world social settings. A whole chapter is devoted to a methodological contribution to these debates.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Economics and Management (within the School in Social Sciences, till the a.y. 2010-11)
PhD Cycle:XXIV
Subjects:Area 13 - Scienze economiche e statistiche > SECS-P/08 ECONOMIA E GESTIONE DELLE IMPRESE
Repository Staff approval on:26 Apr 2012 17:06

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