Building Knowledge Assets for Competitive Advantage
Edited by Vlad Vaiman and Charles M. Vance
Chapter 5: The Role of Social Networks in Managing Organizational Talent, Knowledge and Employee Learning
Rob F. Poell and Ferd J. Van der Krogt The concepts of talent management and knowledge management have a lot in common. Both are very popular concepts in organizations, although the notion of knowledge management has been around for longer than the idea of talent management. Both relate to ways in which organizations manage and develop their human resources with a view to optimal performance. Both concepts implicitly address the issue of learning in work and organizational contexts. A key challenge in talent management is making an organization attractive for employees and ensuring that they give their best. Providing them with excellent opportunities for learning, development, and growth is one way of ensuring competitive advantage. A core issue in knowledge management is using employee learning for the beneﬁt of a broader organization. Organizations can thus manage both their knowledge and talent by systematically encouraging employee learning. The discipline of human resource development, which evolved from the practical ﬁeld of training and development, increasingly emphasizes the workplace as a (potentially) rich source of learning (Billett, 2001; Streumer, 2006). Social networks are put forward in this emerging debate as crucial carriers of workplace learning (Storberg, 2002; Kessels & Poell, 2004). On the one hand, participation in social networks can enhance the opportunities for talented employees to develop their competencies on the job, by augmenting the learning potential inherent in their work (Ellström, 2001; Tjepkema, 2003). On the other hand, social networks are important carriers of employee knowledge, embedded in their cultural...
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