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Characteristics of individuals with high information potential in government research and development organizations

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1 Author(s)
Winford E. Holland ; Univ. Houston, TX, USA

In order to study focal individuals within informal communications networks, a special variable was constructed: information potential (IP) was defined as the information-source value placed on an individual by his colleagues. Four hypotheses involving IP were tested in three R&D organizations using questionnaires and pencil-and-paper tests. Results indicated that the individual with high IP used more and different sources of technical information, was seen to be a credible information source and to have a strong ability to associate seemingly unrelated ideas, and was as approachable as the other members of his organization. Four tentative conclusions may be drawn from this study concerning the person with high IP. He is 1) an identifiable individual in several different kinds of organizations; 2) a distinctive information transceiver (transmitter and receiver); 3) both a producer and a catalyst in his own organization; and 4) an extender and an amplifier of information search. To affect the efficiency of informal information flow, the research manager's best hope for positively influencing informal networks lies in the identification and motivation of the special communicators in his organization.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management  (Volume:EM-19 ,  Issue: 2 )