Congratulations to our Centre for Social Informatics colleague Dr Iris Buunk on the award of her PhD yesterday. Normally we would have celebrated with Iris at the Edinburgh Napier University graduation ceremony at the Usher Hall. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, we had to find an alternative way to mark Iris’s achievement: a jolly drinks party on Zoom.
Although video conferencing is not the ideal platform for a party, this gathering on Zoom worked out rather well to bring together 15 current and former members of the Centre for Social Informatics (plus one gate-crasher) from various locations – including Iris’ home in Slovenia – to celebrate. It was particularly good to see the familiar faces of those who no longer work/study with us:
- Dr Lyndsey Middleton (PhD graduate 2020) – now at the Scottish Government
- Dr Laura Muir (staff member 2015-2020) – now retired
- Dr Louise Rasmussen (PhD graduate 2015) – now at the National Galleries of Scotland
- Dr Frances Ryan (PhD graduate 2019) – now at the University of Aberdeen
Iris captured the screenshot below during the proceedings. Everyone who joined in the fun features here with the exception of Dr David Brazier and Dr Wegene Demeke. The sharp-eyed will notice that three of us are sitting together well wrapped-up outside to toast Iris together: that’s me in the hat sitting with Dr Ella Taylor-Smith, and the gate-crasher.
Iris was awarded her PhD for her thesis entitled Social media as facilitators of tacit knowledge sharing amongst public sector employees. Iris’ findings derive from analysis of empirical data collected by questionnaire and interview from members of an online knowledge sharing platform dedicated to supporting those who work within public sector bodies, mainly in Scotland. The main contribution of Iris’ research is an extension of understanding of the ways in which social media affordances render tacit knowledge visible. In her thesis Iris demonstrates that this visibility enhances knowledge awareness. In turn, it contributes to the building of collective intelligence, the enhancement of learning processes, and the seeding of new collaborations amongst public sector employees. I was Iris’ Director of Studies, with Dr Colin Smith her second supervisor.
Over the course of her doctoral study Iris produced a number of outputs from her doctoral work:
- an award-winning poster entitled ‘Easier, faster, better? How social media facilitate tacit knowledge sharing practices between employees within governmental bodies’ presented at IDIMC in 2016.
- an account of research design for the empirical study entitled ‘Tacit knowledge sharing: the determination of a methodological approach to explore the intangible’ published in Information Research in 2017.
- an account of preliminary findings from the analysis of interview data from the empirical study entitled ‘Skills in sight: how social media affordances increase network awareness‘ presented at the 18th European Conference on Knowledge Management (ECKM) in 2017.
- an account of preliminary findings from the analysis of survey data from the empirical study entitled ‘Tacit knowledge sharing in online environments: locating ‘Ba’ within a platform for public sector professionals’ published in the Journal of Librarianship and Information Science in 2019.
The full text of Iris’ thesis will be added to the Edinburgh Napier repository in due course. In the meantime, the photograph below shows Iris with a hard copy of her work.