Personal and network dynamics in performance of knowledge workers: A study of australian breast radiologists

Seyedamir Tavakoli Taba, Liaquat Hossain, Robert Heard, Patrick Brennan, Warwick Lee, Sarah Lewis

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Materials and Methods In this paper, we propose a theoretical model based upon previous studies about personal and social network dynamics of job performance. We provide empirical support for this model using real-world data within the context of the Australian radiology profession. An examination of radiologists' professional network topology through structural-positional and relational dimensions and radiologists' personal characteristics in terms of knowledge, experience and self-esteem is provided. Thirty one breast imaging radiologists completed a purpose designed questionnaire regarding their network characteristics and personal attributes. These radiologists also independently read a test set of 60 mammographic cases: 20 cases with cancer and 40 normal cases. A Jackknife free response operating characteristic (JAFROC) method was used to measure the performance of the radiologists' in detecting breast cancers. Results Correlational analyses showed that reader performance was positively correlated with the social network variables of degree centrality and effective size, but negatively correlated with constraint and hierarchy. For personal characteristics, the number of mammograms read per year and self-esteem (self-evaluation) positively correlated with reader performance. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that the combination of number ofmammograms read per year and network's effective size, hierarchy and tie strength was the best fitting model, explaining 63.4%of the variance in reader performance. The results from this study indicate the positive relationship between reading high volumes of cases by radiologists and expertise development, but also strongly emphasise the association between effective social/professional interactions and informal knowledge sharing with high performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0150186
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


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