The value of online networks of practice: The role of embeddedness and media use

B.J. van den Hooff, F. de Leeuw van Weenen, M. Soekijad, M.H. Huysman

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article addresses the question how networks of practice (NoPs) can create value (operationalized as their contribution to individual members performance) for organizations through knowledge integration and management. The discussion focuses on two sets of variables influencing member performance: the embeddedness of the network and the use of different media. Three dimensions of embeddedness are distinguished: (1) embeddedness in practice: the extent to which the knowledge shared in the network is integrated in members (local) practices; (2) structural embeddedness: the extent to which network members are connected to each other and know who knows what; and (3) relational embeddedness: the extent to which the network is characterized by strong social ties. In terms of communication media, information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled and face-to-face interaction are distinguished. A survey study among 206 members of different NoPs reveals that all three forms of embeddedness are important antecedents of NoP member performance (explaining 43% of the variance in performance) and that these forms are interrelated. Furthermore, ICT use positively influences embeddedness in practice, whereas face-to-face communication contributes to the structural and relational embeddedness of an NoP. This contributes to knowledge management and ICT literature in general and NoP theory in particular. © 2010 JIT Palgrave Macmillan.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-215
JournalJournal of Information Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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