KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IN KNOWLEDGE-INTENSIVE ORGANIZATIONS: AN INVESTIGATION OF FACTORS INFLUENCING CHOICES OF KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
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In today’s economy the importance of knowledge in organizations is well underscored. The management of an organization’s knowledge has become one of the most important strategic vehicles to an organization's sustainable competitive advantage. The design and success of knowledge management systems (KMS) is viewed as the next evolutionary step in the management of knowledge processes and activities. The debate over the efficacy of these systems draws attention to the differences in approach to KMS that may develop among organizations whose employees’ work involves primarily the execution of procedural routines and those who are involved in primarily creative, problem solving work. This study explored empirically the factors defining Knowledge-intensive Organizations (KIOs) and related these factors to the choices of KMS deployed in these organizations. The study was conducted in two phases and employed both quantitative and qualitative methodologies for data collection. Survey and document analysis techniques were used in the first phase of the study which examined KIO defining factors, how they relate to each other, and how they contribute to knowledge intensity in KIOs. In the second phase semi-structured, in-depth interviews and survey techniques were employed. Grounded theory method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) was then utilized to uncover how knowledge-intensive defining factors interlace with the choice of KMS deployed in KIOs. The interviews were analyzed using QSR NVivo 9 qualitative data analysis software. Quantitative computations were carried out using the PASW Statistics 17.0 package. The study found that KIOs are described by unique knowledge-intense attributes and these attributes inform the design and choices of KMS implemented in KIOs. This research contributes to the literature on factors that describe knowledge intensity in organizations. It provides the research community with a new articulation of the underpinnings of KIOs and KMS, an important step in advancing subsequent theoreti¬cal developments. The study might also have practical value for sellers and systems designers who are looking at assessing user demand for new KMS design ideas and for decision makers within KIOs who would like to evaluate the offerings of sellers.
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