Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) allow to communicate at almost any time and place and enable new ways of cooperation. Within an European research project (ProMe), we were involved in the development of an online platform that aims at supporting knowledge exchange between generations. Older adults specifically have a lot of tacit knowledge, which often lays fallow when they retire. The project aim was to encourage and facilitate knowledge exchange online and support cooperative relationships that are characterized by trust and reciprocity.

We started our research by investigating our target groups’ needs with respect to sharing professional knowledge online and explored how cooperation can be supported best. The results were analyzed through the lens of social capital theory. Based on the work of Nahapiet and Ghoshal [1], who focus in their research on the role of social capital with respect to intellectual capital, we investigated what the platform needs to provide to create beneficial, i.e., valuable outcomes for all involved parties. We particular focused on structural as well as relational dimensions of social capital.

[1] Nahapiet, J., & Ghoshal, S. (1998). Social capital, intellectual capital, and the organizational advantage. Academy of management review23(2), 242-266.

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