Re-engineering knowledge networks for development
Author(s)Raghavan, Amrith, 1976-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Technology and Policy Program.
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This thesis examines the evolution of Internet based knowledge networks (e-knowledge networks) in the domain of sustainable development. The objective of this thesis is to use an engineering systems approach to understand knowledge networks, identify the barriers to their sustainability and recommend strategies for re-engineering them. e-Knowledge Networks refer to the set of Internet based tools and platforms that support communication, collaboration and group decision-making processes amongst groups of individuals. e-knowledge networks are particularly important in the context of international development initiatives that recognize that knowledge is the key to technological change and sustainable economic development. This thesis is intended to aid knowledge network managers and researchers in their efforts towards making their knowledge networks sustainable. The thesis addresses in depth the most important barrier towards a knowledge network's sustainability- the problem of collective action among the participants of a knowledge network. It takes the view that knowledge is a public good, and a knowledge network would face the problem of under provision of this public good due the problem of free-riding and lack of mechanisms to mobilize collective action. This thesis provides guidelines and recommendations for the restructuring of incentives and organizational policies and the re-engineering of the technology to overcome this barrier. The thesis first outlines a framework and taxonomy for describing different knowledge network configurations and maps out the state of existence of important knowledge networks existing in the sustainable development domain within this framework. It then provides individual and comparative(cont.) studies of two important knowledge networks related to sustainable development- the MIT developed Global System for Sustainable Development (GSSD) and the Development Gateway's Knowledge Network. The engineering systems approach used in this thesis enables the study of each of the sub-systems that make up a knowledge network- the human subsystem, the technological subsystem and the institutional subsystem. This is done with the view towards providing insights into the structure of the network and the network of relationships that develop within a Knowledge Network, determining the motivations that drives the creators and the participants and the incentives that have been engineered into the technological and organizational policies to meet these motivations and assessing the quality, quantity and the evolution of knowledge and the throughput of participants in the network. A detailed description of each of the subsystems is provided and the interrelationships amongst them are analyzed and the result is synthesized to develop an integrated framework for the assessment of knowledge networks.
Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Engineering Systems Division, Technology and Policy Program, 2004.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division; Technology and Policy Program
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Technology and Policy Program.