“It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know: Work in the Information Age” is a paper by Bonnie Nardi, Steve Whittaker and Heinrich Schwarz (circa 2000).
We discuss our ethnographic research on personal social networks in the workplace, arguing that traditional institutional resources are being replaced by resources that workers mine from their own networks. Social networks are key sources of labor and information in a rapidly transforming economy characterized by less institutional stability and fewer reliable corporate resources. The personal social network is fast becoming the only sensible alternative to the traditional “org chart” for many everyday transactions in today’s economy.
This is a great paper by very respectable researchers, revealing some of the reasons that there is such motivation to empower individual’s use of their social network.