Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Pull or Push in CoPs, which works better?

Which works better in driving Community of Practice interaction - Pull or Push?

Community of practice interaction can be driven by pull or push - pull meaning interactions driven by knowledge seeking and by questions, push meaning interactions driven by publishing knowledge and posting articles and notifications.

Data from our 2014 global survey of knowledge management allows us to compare these two drivers, and to see which works better.

Those respondents who answered the section on communities of practice gave us two figures - a subjective assessment of community effectiveness (marked from 1 to 5), and an estimate of the percentage of community interactions driven by pull.

These two numbers are compared in the figure here.

The blue line shows the average community effectiveness for various ratios of pull to push. Effectiveness is lowest when pull is lowest (0% to 10%) and highest when pull represents between 51% and 70% of the interactions.

This effect is even more marked in larger CoPs of 1000 or more members (orange line), where satisfaction is highest when the pull ratio is greatest. In fact, only the large pull-driven communities of practice received an average "5 out of 5" effectiveness rating in the survey.

The conclusion is that your communities of practice should be driven more by pull than by push if they are to maximise effectiveness, especially the larger ones.


Susan Detwiler said...

Interesting - and not surprising - results. Can you tell us a bit more about the parameters of the respondents? Who were the participants in the 2014 Global Survey of Knowledge Management study, how were they invited/selected and the size of the sample? Thanks!

Nick Milton said...

Participants for the survey were sought in the following way
• Through the Knoco opt-in mailing list of over 3000 Knowledge Management practitioners,
• Through the largest KM groups in Linked-In,
• Via Twitter, using the #km and #kmers hashtags,
• Through the personal contact lists of Knoco Affiliates in 12 countries,
• Through all relevant level 1 contacts in LinkedIn.
The dataset may therefore be biased towards English-speakers, towards users of global social media (leading to under-representation from China, for example), and towards people who identify with the term “KM” rather than other terms such as Enterprise 2.0 or Organisational Learning.
Following the quality assurance process described above, the final survey dataset consists of 369 submissions.

The details of CoPs was an optional component. 133 people answered this component.

Susan Detwiler said...

Thanks, Nick! The results actually mirror my own experience in CoPs. I'm not a Knowledge Management practitioner, or at least not using that term in my work. I consult to nonprofit organizations on governance and strategic planning, and the CoPs that are lively with give and take - questions, answers, building on answers -- are the ones with the greatest value and to which we return. Thanks for the information.

Kent Greenes said...

Thanks, Nick.

The data certainly supports our thinking and actions as COmmunity facilitators.

When a community member recommends another person or their knowledge content, is that a push or a pull?


Nick Milton said...

Hi Kent!

The key point is whether the knowledge transfer is triggered by demand (Pull) or supply (Push). In the case where someone asks a question and someone else answers with a referral, thats Pull, as in

"Can anyone help me with this carbonatite fractionation problem?"
"Yes, speak with Bob, he knows a lot about carbonatite fractionation"

In contrast, the push equivalent would be

"Hey everyone - if you ever have a carbonatite fractionation problem, speak with Bob - your one-stop shop for carbonatite fractionation advice".

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