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A case study investigation into an implementation of a techno-driven knowledge management initiative

McWhinnie, DP 2008, A case study investigation into an implementation of a techno-driven knowledge management initiative , PhD thesis, Salford : University of Salford.

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    Abstract

    This thesis reports on an action research study within a global manufacturing organisation based in the UK and USA, henceforth referred to as XYZ Limited. The study explores how this organisation undertook an improvement programme based on the practice of knowledge management and technology. Following the views of (Walsham 1995) and (Wood-Harper 1985), the research adopts an interpretive stance towards the role of information technology within knowledge management. Through two cycles of action research the study develops a model to facilitate a technology driven knowledge management approach as part of an organisational improvement programme. In doing so the researcher follows Checkland's principle of "Purposeful Human Activity" (Checkland 1981), that suggests that an organisational system is not for example just the nuts-and-bolts (or bits-and-bytes) that fall off the end of a manufacturing production line, but that the production line, and all the people that work at the company are a system themselves. This study focuses on XYZ Ltd's desire to improve its practice through the application of principles from knowledge management whilst trying to accommodate industry's desire for a technology solution. The issues of collaboration and sharing of knowledge and wisdom are of concern to the organisation. The industry preferential and expectation was of a technical solution, however the research explored both the social and technical aspects before delivering a solution. Within the overall framework it is proposed to view the perspectives through differing 'lenses' of business, academia and the embedded researcher. The research has been undertaken using a qualitative, interpretive approach with supporting case study data as the chosen research methodology. Thus, the contexts of action and the experiences of individuals in a single, real-life setting was considered, providing a complementary perspective to the existing studies. The approach highlights some methodological implications, which contribute to the development of methods and practice in this field. The research findings suggest that whilst the use of technology has become more widespread there is no common framework for evaluating their success. The resultant framework is useful for practitioners and researchers and provides guidelines for future implementation in knowledge management environments. This thesis offer two contributions to the fields of knowledge management and action research:- Contribution to Knowledge Management The development of an approach to introduce knowledge management into an organisation by using technology solution to drive an organisation towards a social change. Contribution to Action Research The development of a new action research technique utilising the embedded action researcher, through the development of an embedded action research framework which offers a merging of the practitioner and academic roles.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Contributors: Ferneley, E(Supervisor)
    Additional Information:
    Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Business & Law
    Colleges and Schools > College of Business & Law > Salford Business School
    Depositing User: Institutional Repository
    Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2012 14:34
    Last Modified: 19 Feb 2014 10:26
    URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/26813

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