MACT Project Update

I’ve used my third elective to work on my literature review, which will be used in my final MACT research project. You can find my application form here [PDF]. This includes my list of readings and assignments approved by the MACT program.

I started with an initial reading list, with the work of Henry Jenkins and Axel Bruns as foundational concepts. After assessing this initial list, I conducted a systematic search for literature to understand what has been done on my research topic.

In terms of sports fans and participatory culture, the initial readings I came across fell into three categories:

  1. Research that examined the consumption of sports by fans. This would look into what and how much they were consuming.
  2. Research that examined why sports fans behaved the way they did. This is where the psychology theories would be applied. Why do fans get aggressive? Why and how do they identify with teams and players? That kind of stuff.
  3. Research that examined how fans engage with sports. Video games, fantasy sports and activity on message boards are examples of fan engagement.

Based on these three categories, I think fan engagement is the one closely related to what I’m pursuing. Plus, not much has been done on it.

Then I did a systematic search of all the literature available to explore fan engagement even further. It will be these readings, along with Jenkins’ and Bruns’ work, that will make up the bulk of the final literature review due in August.

Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management & Communication Technology
September 2010 – December 2010

Communities of practice

According to Wenger (2002):

Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.

Tacit and Explicit Knowledge

Tacit knowledge: Knowledge possessed by an individual that is difficult to transfer. Typically the ‘know-how’ a person has. It’s the knowledge we don’t recognize we have.

Explicit knowledge: Knowledge that can codified and easily shared.

“Continual dialogie between explicit and tacit knowledge…drives the creation of new ideas and concepts.” (Nonaka, 1994).

According to Nonaka (1994), there are four modes of knowledge conversions. Blogs play an important role in each of these steps.

Socialization (Tacit to Tacit)
Fans have the ability to communicate using blogs. Comment sections that are open to public postings allow for an exchange of the tacit knowledge held by fans.

Externalization (Tacit to Explicit)
Blogs allow fans to answer the questions of one another. Recording an individual’s tacit knowledge on a blog converts that knowledge to explicit. This can then be referenced later on when needed. Fans have also begun making their knowledge easier to find using tags and data mining software.

Internalization (Explicit to Tacit)
Since blogs are on the internet, explicit knowledge is readily available for conversion to tacit knowledge. Fans can read the knowledge available on blogs and internalize what they find. It is when fans utilize this knowledge, however, that they truly convert it to explicit knowledge. For example, a fan can take explicit knowledge and use it to gamble on hockey games.

Combination (Explicit to Explicit)
Various sites have begun making their data sharable with others. For example, fans grade player performance each game, use Microsoft excel to sort it and make it available for other fans to obtain and manipulate.

Nonaka, I. (1994). A Dynamic Theory of Organizational Knowledge Creation. Organization Science, 5(1), p. 5 – 37.

Wenger, E. (2000). Communities of practice and learning systems. Organization, 7(2), p. 225-246.