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Digital Technologies for Collaborative Knowledge Networks

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Education and Approaches".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020) | Viewed by 25879

Special Issue Editors

Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Naples Federico II, 80125 Napoli NA, Italy
Interests: circular economy; WEEE management processes; sustainability; innovation, entrepreneurship, digital technologies
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Engineering for Innovation, University of Salento, 73100 Lecce, Italy
Interests: digital transformation; project management; collective intelligence
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Management and Production Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, 10124 Torino, Italy
Interests: digital transformation; strategy; innovation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Naples Federico II, 80125 Naples, Italy
Interests: digital academic entrepreneurship; student entrepreneurship; open innovation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The growing international competition, increasing market volatility, demand for customized products, and shortened product life cycles represent serious challenges that organizations have to cope with. In such a context, knowledge is increasingly considered as a strategic resource for a sustainable organizational growth and competitiveness (e.g., Lopes et al., 2017). As consequence, knowledge management (KM) can be considered as a critical leverage for organizations to improve innovation processes and competitiveness (Lopes et al., 2017; Passaro et al., 2018). At the same time, the fast evolution of digital technologies (e.g., social media, business analytics, the Internet of Things, big data, advanced manufacturing, 3D printing, cloud and cyber-solutions, MOOCs) is offering new and interesting opportunities to entrepreneurs and managers in managing and reshaping organizations, markets, and business models and operations (Elia et al., 2019; Raguseo, 2018). Such technologies permeate every private and public organization (Fischer and Reuber, 2011; Fitzgerald et al., 2014; Greenstein et al., 2013) and have the potential to open up fascinating innovation and collaboration opportunities for both incumbent and new ventures (Cohen et al., 2017; Rippa and Secundo, 2019; Yoo et al., 2010). More in detail, digital technologies are defining new ways of collaborating, collecting, and organizing resources, thus supporting the collective design of products and services, the execution of routine activities and tasks, the complex matching between demand and offer, and the development of innovative solutions (Markus and Loebecke, 2013), in the final aim to make innovation possible (Nambisan et al., 2017) and to provide an end-to-end support to the entrepreneurial process.

Based on these premises, the array of technologies, applications, and tools could act as a catalyst of knowledge management flows and innovation processes in collaborative networks. In particular, in a such digitally-enabled world, the creation of virtuous and self-reinforcing relationships among different actors should accelerate synergetic knowledge management processes, which continuously transform and develop internal and external knowledge, as well as support innovation processes and organizational growth (de Reuver et al., 2018; Noennig et al., 2014). In other words, digitalization could enable organizations in adopting business models that are increasingly open, allowing ideas and technologies to flow from outside the company and from within the external environment (Urbinati et al., 2018). By participating in open innovation system, different actors could simultaneously benefit from and contribute to synergetic knowledge management processes, which continuously transform and develop knowledge resources (Noennig et al., 2014). Moreover, the exchange of knowledge and the speed of transactions increase significantly, thus creating new spaces of opportunities that companies can take to connect with external and complementary partners for innovation purposes (de Reuver et al., 2018). In other words, digital technologies could act as a catalyst of KM flows and innovation processes in collaborative networks.

Notwithstanding, many open issues exist in literature about the critical role of digital technologies in new collaborative knowledge networks that involve firms, university, startup, academic spin-off, and so on.

With this in mind, we look for theoretical and empirical research able to investigate a variety of lines of inquiry, such as:

  • Analysis of the relationship among the development of effective and efficient digital technologies, KM processes, and Open Innovation approaches;
  • Identification of the enablers and/or inhibitors, and influencing factors (relational oriented contexts, hyper-competition, etc.) linked to the exploitation of digital technologies in KM and innovation processes;
  • Analysis of the role of digital tools able to nurture KM and OI activities and processes;
  • Evaluation of the contribution of digital technologies to KM and OI processes;
  • Analysis of the impact of digital technologies on organizational and innovation performances;
  • Investigation of the role of digital tools have to support entrepreneurial processes and outcomes;
  • Identification of moderating/mediating factors of the relationship between digital technologies and KM and OI practices, processes, and outcomes.

References:

  • de Reuver, M., Sørensen, C., & Basole, R. C. (2018). The digital platform: a research agenda. Journal of Information Technology, 33(2), 124References-135.
  • Elia, G., Margherita, A., & Passiante, G. (2020). Digital entrepreneurship ecosystem: How digital technologies and collective intelligence are reshaping the entrepreneurial process. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 150, 119791.
  • Nambisan, S., Lyytinen, K., Majchrzak, A., & Song, M. (2017). Digital Innovation Management: Reinventing innovation management research in a digital world. Mis Quarterly, 41(1).
  • Noennig, J. R., Scheler, A. M., Piskorek, K., & Barski, J. (2014, January). Towards Knowledge Ecosystems: Modelling Knowledge Dynamics in Environmental Systems. In KES (pp. 1360-1369).
  • Passaro, R., Quinto, I., & Thomas, A. (2017). Start-up competitions as learning environment to foster the entrepreneurial process. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 23(3), 426-445.
  • Raguseo, E. (2018). Big data technologies: An empirical investigation on their adoption, benefits and risks for companies. International Journal of Information Management, 38(1), 187-195.
  • Rippa, P., & Secundo, G. (2019). Digital academic entrepreneurship: The potential of digital technologies on academic entrepreneurship. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 146, 900-911.
  • Spender, J. C., Corvello, V., Grimaldi, M., & Rippa, P. (2017). Startups and open innovation: a review of the literature. European Journal of Innovation Management, 20(1),4-30
  • Urbinati, A., Chiaroni, D., Chiesa, V., & Frattini, F. (2018). The role of digital technologies in open innovation processes: an exploratory multiple case study analysis. R&D Management.

Dr. Ivana Quinto
Prof. Gianluca Elia
Prof. Dr. Elisabetta Raguseo
Prof. Pierluigi Rippa
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • digital entrepreneurship
  • knowledge management
  • digital technologies
  • open innovation
  • virtual communities

Published Papers (8 papers)

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37 pages, 60438 KiB  
Article
Reframing a Novel Decentralized Knowledge Management Concept as a Desirable Vision: As We May Realize the Memex
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 4038; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13074038 - 05 Apr 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3215
Abstract
Proposing a major (though envisaged synergetic) shift in the knowledge management (KM) paradigm needs to convince a skeptical audience. This article attempts such a feat and motivates its conceptual considerations by fusing a wide scope of theoretical KM-related foundations in response to current [...] Read more.
Proposing a major (though envisaged synergetic) shift in the knowledge management (KM) paradigm needs to convince a skeptical audience. This article attempts such a feat and motivates its conceptual considerations by fusing a wide scope of theoretical KM-related foundations in response to current KM unsustainabilities and emerging enabling technologies. The envisioned workflows, infrastructure, affordances, and impact resulting from the progressing design science research and prototyping efforts are consolidated and reframed, guided by a five-step visioneering process and twelve triple-criteria-clusters combining innovative, technological, and vision-related qualities. Inspired by Bush’s “Memex”, a desirable vision never realized since its suggestion three quarters of a century ago, the novel KM system (KMS) pursues the scenario of a mutually beneficial co-evolution between individual and institutional KM activities. This article follows up on the unsatisfactory and unsustainable state of current KM affairs suffering from accelerating information abundance, invisible work, structural interdisciplinary holes, lacking personal tools, and widening opportunity divides. By portraying a potentially transformative and game-changing technology, the crafting and drafting of a desirable, sustainable, and viable KMS vision assures transparency and can be more easily shared with a critical mass of stakeholders as a prerequisite for creating the respective future KM reality. The drafting of the “Desirable Sustainability Vision” is envisaged to assist a currently accepted KMS start-up project and investment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Technologies for Collaborative Knowledge Networks)
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13 pages, 1499 KiB  
Article
A Platform for AI-Enabled Real-Time Feedback to Promote Digital Collaboration
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10243; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410243 - 08 Dec 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4475
Abstract
This paper explores the effect of AI-enabled real-time feedback on group dynamics and individual behavior. While feedback interventions have been employed for several years to trigger behavioral change, the lack of instantaneous feedback and the required infrastructure are limiting the widespread use of [...] Read more.
This paper explores the effect of AI-enabled real-time feedback on group dynamics and individual behavior. While feedback interventions have been employed for several years to trigger behavioral change, the lack of instantaneous feedback and the required infrastructure are limiting the widespread use of these interventions. The methodology we describe offers immediate pointers to participants through the use of the Meeting Mediator (MM), an online intervention tool that shows the conversational balance of participants and offers immediate feedback to team members, with limited intermediation of the researchers. Both the experimental group—exposed to the MM—and the control group completed two tasks, which involved making a series of complex decisions as a group in the form of two moral reasoning tasks. Results confirmed that participants exposed to the MM experienced approximately twice as large of an increase in self-assessed dominance over the control group as those who were exposed only once. This effect is also present on repeated exposures, and becomes more pronounced with each subsequent exposure. When participants were exposed to the MM either in the first task or in the second task, their performance increased, though we found no positive impact when groups were exposed several times to it. Overall, this experiment demonstrates the benefits of using AI-enabled tools to promote effective collaboration and sustainable growth in corporate settings and online education environments, which requires the development of critical thinking and self-reflection skills. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Technologies for Collaborative Knowledge Networks)
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16 pages, 745 KiB  
Article
An Investigation on the Use by Academic Researchers of Knowledge from Scientific Social Networking Sites
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9732; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229732 - 22 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2079
Abstract
Scientific social networking sites like ResearchGate or Academia.edu have become part of the work practice of academic researchers. These digital platforms have been designed precisely to encourage the exchange of knowledge between scholars and to help the expansion of collaborative networks among them. [...] Read more.
Scientific social networking sites like ResearchGate or Academia.edu have become part of the work practice of academic researchers. These digital platforms have been designed precisely to encourage the exchange of knowledge between scholars and to help the expansion of collaborative networks among them. Even if studies on this topic have multiplied in recent years, there is a dearth of research on the actual impact of these platforms on scientific production. The goal of this study is to investigate the relationship between the attitude of researchers towards scientific social networks and the use of knowledge in their scientific work. Data from users of the scientific social networking site ResearchGate were collected. A total of 143 valid responses were received and structural equation modeling was applied for data analysis. Findings of this study confirmed that researchers use knowledge obtained from scientific social networking sites both incorporating it within their research products and to acquire new competences. In particular approaching the platform as a scientific community with a shared language and a shared vision was found to have a positive impact on knowledge use. To the best knowledge of the authors this is the first study investigating the actual use of knowledge from scientific social networking sites by academic researchers. Results help us to understand the impact of these platforms on the work practice of a strategic sector like scientific research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Technologies for Collaborative Knowledge Networks)
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20 pages, 887 KiB  
Article
Evolution of Collaborative Networks Supporting Startup Sustainability: Evidences from Digital Firms
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9437; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229437 - 13 Nov 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3707
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to investigate whether startup evolution can be conceptualized in a life cycle model intended as an unpredictable sequence of stages, where startups need to find actors with whom to collaborate to acquire knowledge and resources supporting the [...] Read more.
The aim of this paper is to investigate whether startup evolution can be conceptualized in a life cycle model intended as an unpredictable sequence of stages, where startups need to find actors with whom to collaborate to acquire knowledge and resources supporting the effectiveness and the sustainability of their mission. The creation and implementation of collaborative networks is observed through the lens of the holistic approach to the entrepreneurial ecosystem, whose purpose is to build “bridges” between different actors through the creation of communities of best practices or entrepreneurial networks. The creation of a specific ecosystem is suggested to ease the new digital entrepreneurship generation toward acquiring an appropriate level of knowledge, skills, financial facilitations, and entrepreneurial culture. Following a multiple case study analysis based on nine successful Italian digital firms, the empirical evidence seems to confirm that firms collaborate with different actors in different stages, as knowledge and resource networks play a critical role in sustaining the evolution and success of new firms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Technologies for Collaborative Knowledge Networks)
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18 pages, 2589 KiB  
Article
YouTube Dominance in Sustainability of Gaining Knowledge via Social Media in University Setting—Case Study
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 9126; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12219126 - 03 Nov 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3125
Abstract
The study deals with sustainability of social software applications in a university setting focusing primarily on the YouTube platform. The aim of this paper is to identify the potential of YouTube media in serving as a supportive educational tool. To meet the objective, [...] Read more.
The study deals with sustainability of social software applications in a university setting focusing primarily on the YouTube platform. The aim of this paper is to identify the potential of YouTube media in serving as a supportive educational tool. To meet the objective, researchers carried out an exploratory study based on mixed quantitative–qualitative methods. A mental knowledge model was designed as a starting point where crucial aspects of gaining knowledge were visualized. Sustainability of social media was analyzed in three defined sections encompassing three areas reflecting the needs of the educational process: social media as a tool of communication, repository of study materials and a tool for testing. The affective learning domain was highlighted in the study; one of the key explored categories was the category of satisfaction as a students’ motivation mover. Based on the findings, YouTube as an absolute winner was consequently analyzed in detail, focusing on three areas: satisfaction, kinds of activities on this platform and spent time. The discussion raises questions on pitfalls of social media utilization; this chapter also brings the latest experience from the time hit by coronavirus and related quarantine which showed incontestable benefits of social media in education and proved their irreplaceable role. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Technologies for Collaborative Knowledge Networks)
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18 pages, 900 KiB  
Article
Entrepreneurship in an Increasingly Digital and Global World. Evaluating the Role of Digital Capabilities on International Entrepreneurial Intention
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 7984; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12197984 - 26 Sep 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4436
Abstract
Given the growing role of entrepreneurial companies in international markets, recent research endeavors direct their attention towards understanding the role of digital technologies for the internationalization efforts of new ventures. Thereby, existing research is mostly focused on explaining the enabling role of digital [...] Read more.
Given the growing role of entrepreneurial companies in international markets, recent research endeavors direct their attention towards understanding the role of digital technologies for the internationalization efforts of new ventures. Thereby, existing research is mostly focused on explaining the enabling role of digital technologies as a contextual frame, but widely neglects the role of the individual and his/her capabilities to make use of those technologies. This paper aims at closing the above research gap by focusing on digital capabilities and investigating their effect on the intention to engage in international entrepreneurship. With the help of structural equation modeling, we integrate the concept of digital capabilities into the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) and empirically analyze the complex relationship between digital capabilities, the three TPB dimensions, and international entrepreneurial intention (IEI). Using a student sample from a major German university (n = 198), we find evidence for the significant role of digital capabilities for IEI through its positive effects on an individual’s attitude towards international entrepreneurship and perceived behavioral control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Technologies for Collaborative Knowledge Networks)
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18 pages, 2961 KiB  
Article
Toward a more Efficient Knowledge Network in Innovation Ecosystems: A Simulated Study on Knowledge Management
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6328; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166328 - 06 Aug 2020
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2696
Abstract
Knowledge management has become increasingly important in the era of knowledge economy. This study explores what is an optimal knowledge network for more efficient knowledge diffusion among strategic partners in order to provide insights on sustainable enterprises and a more knowledge-efficient innovation ecosystem. [...] Read more.
Knowledge management has become increasingly important in the era of knowledge economy. This study explores what is an optimal knowledge network for more efficient knowledge diffusion among strategic partners in order to provide insights on sustainable enterprises and a more knowledge-efficient innovation ecosystem. Based on simulated analyses of the efficiency of knowledge network models, including regular network, random network, and small world network, this study shows that a random knowledge network is more efficient for knowledge diffusion when a mixture knowledge trade rule is used. This study thus helps identify which knowledge networks facilitate knowledge exchange among collaborative partners for sustainable knowledge management. Management practitioners and policymakers can use the findings to design more appropriate knowledge exchange networks to improve the efficiency of knowledge diffusion in an innovation ecosystem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Technologies for Collaborative Knowledge Networks)
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1 pages, 157 KiB  
Erratum
Erratum: Porter, B., et al. A Platform for AI-Enabled Real-Time Feedback to Promote Digital Collaboration. Sustainability 2020, 12, 10243
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2975; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052975 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1194
Abstract
The authors would like to make the following corrections about the published paper [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Technologies for Collaborative Knowledge Networks)
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