LESIJ NO. XIX, VOL. 1/2012
GROWTH OF COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE BY LINKING
KNOWLEDGE WORKERS THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA
Collective intelligence can be defined, very broadly, as groups of individuals that do things
collectively, and that seem to be intelligent. Collective intelligence has existed for ages. Families,
tribes, companies, countries, etc., are all groups of individuals doing things collectively, and that
seem to be intelligent. However, over the past two decades, the rise of the Internet has given upturn
to new types of collective intelligence. Companies can take advantage from the so-called Web-
enabled collective intelligence. Web-enabled collective intelligence is based on linking knowledge
workers through social media. That means that companies can hire geographically dispersed
knowledge workers and create so-called virtual teams of these knowledge workers (members of the
virtual teams are connected only via the Internet and do not meet face to face). By providing an
online social network, the companies can achieve significant growth of collective intelligence. But to
create and use an online social network within a company in a really efficient way, the managers
need to have a deep understanding of how such a system works.Thus the purpose of this paper is to
share the knowledge about effective use of social networks in companies. The main objectives of this
paper are as follows: to introduce some good practices of the use of social media in companies, to
analyze these practices and to generalize recommendations for a successful introduction and use of
social media to increase collective intelligence of a company.
Keywords: collective intelligence, social media, knowledge, management, virtual team.
This paper deals with collective intelligence in the era of Internet-based social media. Th is
topic is worth our attention because if the company is able to use the potential of collective
intelligence appropriately, it can achieve a strong competitive advantage. Collective intelligence can
also be used for public benefit. In this paper we have tried to establish if there are some general rules
how to use collective intelligence in favor of a certain project. The phenomenon of web-based
collective intelligence is relatively new. The best theoretical background for this topic is created by
the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. The background publications on the subject of web-based
collective intelligence are: Inventing the Organizations of the 21st Century by Thomas W. Malone,
Robert Laubacher, and Michael S. Scott Morton,1 The Future of Work by Thomas W. Malone,2
Democratizing Innovation by Eric von Hippel,3 or Organizing Business Knowledge: The MIT
∗ Associate Professor, Ph.D., Philosophical Faculty, Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic (email:
1 Thomas W. Malone, Robert Laubacher, and Michael S. Scott Morton, Inventing the Organizations of the 21st
Century (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003).
2 Thomas W Malone, The future of work: how the new order of business will shape your organization, your
management style and your life (Boston: Harvard Business Press 2004).
3 Eric von Hippel, Democratizing Innovation (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005).