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Dissertation Information for Todd E Marshall

- Todd E Marshall

- Ph.D.

- Library and Information Science

- Syracuse University (USA) (2011)

- Richard David Lankes

- Michael Nilan
- Robert L. Heckman
- Steven Burton Sawyer
- S. Brechin
- Rocci Luppicini
- Eunkyung Lee

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: Participatory networks in a nonprofit organization: A comparative case study

Abstract: This dissertation used a comparative case study to investigate participatory networks in the context of a religious nonprofit. A participatory network consists of nine concepts: an interconnected set (social network) of cognizing agents (participants) where members (bounded group) have the potential (ability) of conversing (action) via an intermediating technology (technical network) to create an entailment mesh (information network) to address problems in a given context. This represents three levels of networked entities: technical, social, informational.

Although the popularity of participatory networks continues to increase in society through various forms of social media and "Web 2.0" functionality, these systems are still not well understood, especially in an organizational context. This study seeks to improve the scientific understanding of these systems by looking at the perceived benefits of these systems and usage factors which affect participation.

The philosophical perspective of this study is based on a constructivist approach represented by the perspectives of Karl Weick (Sensemaking), Etienne Wenger (Communities of Practice), and Gordon Pask (Conversation Theory). Weick focuses on the sensemaking processes of the organization. Wenger focuses on the participating and reifying which maintains communities of practice. Pask focuses on the conversing process by which individuals create and share knowledge. These three lenses are used to examine the phenomenon of participatory networks.

Data was collected by conducting semi-structured interviews across departments and systems within a single organization. Analyses of the responses led to the creation of two coding schemes which revealed 14 perceived benefits and 18 usage factors. Key findings are as follows. A comparison between intended benefits and realized benefits revealed that they did not always match. Usage factors were diverse, covering all four levels of the digital divide: technical ability, personal competency, contextual influence, and personal characteristics. The author proposes that participatory networks facilitate members conversing with themselves and with each other to create personal and shared entailment meshes. Participation was conceptualized as a spectrum of engagement ranging from nonmembers to passive members to active members to champions. Finally, the study demonstrated that the technical network, social network, and information network (entailment mesh) are not isomorphic.

MPACT Scores for Todd E Marshall

A = 0
C = 0
A+C = 0
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TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2012-08-15 19:25:42

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