People Tagging & Ontology Maturing: Towards Collaborative Competence Management

S. Braun, and A. Schmidt. 8th International Conference on the Design of Cooperative Systems (COOP '08), Carry-le-Rouet, France, May 20-23, 2008 , (2008)


Competence Management approaches, aiming at making transparent individual competencies and their relationship to organizational goals, suggest promising instruments for more effective resource allocation, knowledge management, learning support, and human resource development in general. However, especially on the level of individual employees, such approaches have so far not been able to show sustainable success on a larger scale. Piloting applications like expert finders have often failed in the long run because of incomplete and outdated data, apart from social and organizational barriers. This affects both competency profiles of the individual employee and non-adequate and often also outdated competency catalogs used as a vocabulary for the profiles. To overcome these problems, we propose a collaborative competence management approach. In this approach, we combine Web 2.0-style bottom-up processes with organizational top-down processes: Web 2.0 oriented bottom-up processes allow every employee to participate and contribute with low usage barriers; i.e. by tagging colleagues; the organizational processes take up and guide these bottom-up developments towards organizational goals. Key idea is that we cannot do competence management completely without an agreed vocabulary (or ontology), i.e. the competency catalog, but we have to make the process of evolving this catalog more collaborative and embedded into its actual usage (e.g., while tagging other employees). Likewise, we do not conceive competency profiles as self-descriptions, but rather as results of collective judgments of others. We approached this problem as a collaborative ontology construction problem of which the conceptual foundation is the Ontology Maturing Process Model. In order to realize the Ontology Maturing Process Model for competence management, we have built the AJAX-based semantic social bookmarking application SOBOLEO that offers task-embedded competence ontology development and an easy-to-use interface.

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