There is a significant amount of literature pertaining to the management of knowledge. In the past twenty years, knowledge management has become commonplace among those organizations striving to gain competitive advantage through the retention and dissemination of information. This field has grown exponentially, with innumerable applications and facets growing from this previously singular field. One such application is the location of expertise. Identifying those individuals with specific competencies and job-related information is valuable in many significant ways.

The purpose of this thesis was to justify the use of professional networking sites as a viable methodology for identifying individual knowledge and expertise. This was accomplished through a case study of a small telecommunications company located on the west coast. An electronic survey measuring respondent perceptions was distributed via email with 111 of 1,150 employees responding to the questionnaire. Survey respondents indicated that professional networking sites provided an opportunity to maximize certain aspects of organizational performance. Nonetheless, organizationally supported methods were rated more favorably than professional networking websites in the location of job-related information. Results from this study suggest that while professional networking websites provide a viable methodology for identifying expertise, certain respondent attitudes impede applicability in an organizational setting.


Expertise Identification, Knowledge Management, Social Networking Media, Professional Networking Sites

Date of this Version



Organizational Leadership and Supervision

Department Head

Michael M. Beyerlein

Month of Graduation


Year of Graduation



Master of Science

Head of Graduate Program

Gary R. Bertoline

Advisor 1 or Chair of Committee

Lisa B. Ncube

Committee Member 1

Lisa B. Ncube

Committee Member 2

Rodney C. Vandeveer

Committee Member 3

Daniel O. Lybrook