Date: December 2005
Creator: Macpherson, Janet Robertson
Description: Traditionally, social network analysis (SNA) techniques enable the examination of relationships and the flow of information within networks of human members or groups of humans. This study extended traditional social network analysis to include a nonhuman group member, specifically a document retrieval system. The importance of document retrieval systems as information sources, the changes in business environments that necessitates the use of information and communication technologies, and the attempts to make computer systems more life-like, provide the reasons for considering the information system as a group member. The review of literature for this study does not encompass a single body of knowledge. Instead, several areas combined to inform this study, including social informatics for its consideration of the intersection of people and information technology, network theory and social network analysis, organizations and information, organizational culture, and finally, storytelling in organizations as a means of transferring information. The methodology included distribution of surveys to two small businesses that used the same document retrieval system, followed by semi-structured interviews of selected group members, which allowed elaboration on the survey findings. The group members rated each other and the system on four interaction criteria relating to four social networks of interest, including awareness, ...
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