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Does Online Social Networking Automatically Lead to 21st Century Communities of Practice?

[+] Author Affiliations
Jane A. Hutt

International Generator Technical Community, Olympia, WA

Paper No. POWER2014-32273, pp. V001T04A004; 8 pages
  • ASME 2014 Power Conference
  • Volume 1: Fuels and Combustion, Material Handling, Emissions; Steam Generators; Heat Exchangers and Cooling Systems; Turbines, Generators and Auxiliaries; Plant Operations and Maintenance; Reliability, Availability and Maintainability (RAM); Plant Systems, Structures, Components and Materials Issues
  • Baltimore, Maryland, USA, July 28–31, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Power Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4608-7
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


Online social networking communities can help strengthen professional ties among members of almost any profession. How useful they are to the engineering professions in contributing to the process of intergenerational knowledge transfer depends on the site. Prior to the popularity of online communications and networking tools such as Facebook, Twitter and Linked In, Power Industry engineers have utilized with varying success a number of knowledge transfer facilitation tools, both within their companies and outside them. This paper will discuss the pros and cons of both traditional and emerging methods and present specific examples that address technical issues, learning styles, differences in generational approaches to learning and communication. Issues relating to global needs in the engineering profession, organizational flexibility, the ability of people and organizations to adapt and change, and educational and workforce challenges will also be discussed. Short case studies illustrating various solutions for addressing some of these issues, including development of useful technical content and formation of communities of practice, will also be provided.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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