Discontinuity in Organizations: Developing a Knowledge-Based Organizational Performance Model for Discontinuous Membership

Discontinuity in Organizations: Developing a Knowledge-Based Organizational Performance Model for Discontinuous Membership

Rahinah Ibrahim (Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia) and Mark Nissen (Naval Postgraduate School, USA)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/jkm.2007010102
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Abstract

Tacit knowledge attenuates particularly quickly in organizations that experience discontinuous membership: the coming and going of organizational roles or positions during a workflow process. Because knowledge flows enable workflows, and workflows drive performance, theory suggests that dynamic knowledge—particularly tacit knowledge—is critical for competitive advantage. This research seeks to extend established organization theory, through integration of emerging knowledge-flow theory, to inform the design of discontinuous organizations. Toward this end, we build a computational model based upon ethnographic study of an affordable housing project that experienced severe discontinuous membership. Analysis of this model reveals problematic theoretical gaps, and provides insight into how scholarly understanding of knowledge flows can extend organization theory to address discontinuous organizations. This research contributes new knowledge for designing knowledge-based organizations in discontinuous contexts.

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