Enhancing the implementation and use of groupware technologies and knowledge management practices: the integration of a technology-enabled change process through the examination of 'cognitive frames'
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The research centered on the implementation and use of groupware technologies and on knowledge management (KM) practices in the Information Technology (IT) division of a major global energy organization. The study examined the relationships among technology, process, policy, and the cognitive frames that characterize people's understandings of them-in conjunction with other contextual and methodological factors, including technological and organizational change. The problem was presented from a business perspective and expressed in terms of two problematic gaps. The first was a methodological gap, between the existing approach to implementing and integrating KM enabling technology (Livelink groupware), structure, and culture within the research site and the approaches recommended in the literature. The second was an operational gap between the actual level-of-use of the groupware technology (and associated KM practices) within the research site and the level-of-use expected by senior leadership. Data included survey responses from 51 of 54 respondents (94%) involved in the implementation effort. There were 6 demographic questions. The remaining questions combined mostly open-ended items with 8 Yes/No and 14 Likert-type items. The open ended responses were subjected to a thematic analysis and all of the responses were analyzed in relation to 9 research questions. The research questions addressed the key organizational conditions influencing the use of groupware technology and KM practices and the process required to effectively transform an organization in the desired direction. Other questions assessed MCA member's technological frames regarding Livelink and KM, the extent to which MCA staff used Livelink and KM, as well as staff perceptions of current and previous rollout attempts. The study then identified methodological and operational deficiencies. The findings are discussed in terms of the business context, their relationship to Orlikowski's research on technological frames and organizational change, and their contribution to the broader literature on technological and organizational change and KM practices. The main conclusion is that the management of cognitive frames is critical in mediating the social and technological aspects of IT-enabled business solutions. Several conceptual prototypes for further research and business application are described. These include a comprehensive KM framework, a change/implementation process model, and an integrated cognitive-frames schema.
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