Information Technology Strategy in Knowledge Diffusion Lifecycle

Information Technology Strategy in Knowledge Diffusion Lifecycle

Zhang Li (Harbin Institute of Technology, China), Jia Qiong (Harbin Institute of Technology, China) and Yao Xiao (Harbin Institute of Technology, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch320
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Abstract

A progressive liberalization and deregulation of international trade, and the rapid development and diffusion of information and communication technology (IT) have fundamentally changed the global competitive dynamic environment (Ernst & Kim, 2002). Growing around these is a new information age economy whose fundamental sources of wealth are knowledge and communication rather than natural resources and physical labor (Kanter, 1994). The simultaneous development of the knowledge economy (Dunning, 2000) and the information technology economy (Varian, Farrell, & Shapiro, 2004) provides both opportunity and challenge for the organizations, and also requires us to develop from a comprehensive perspective by combining knowledge management with the information technology strategy. In the knowledge economy, the importance of knowledge diffusion dynamics has been increasingly recognized in development economics over the last decade (World Bank, 1999). Knowledge diffusion can be defined as the adaptations and applications of knowledge documented in scientific publications and patents (Crane, 1972). Knowledge diffusion is part of the knowledge management process, realizing the proliferation of knowledge and information among different individuals across time and space (Chen & Hicks, 2004). According to the extent of knowledge diffusion, the knowledge diffusion lifecycle can be divided into four stages, including incubation, nurture, promotion, and popularization (Lang & Yuan, 2004). In this lifecycle, knowledge diffusion refers to promoting the innovation and core competence formation, so how to accelerate the knowledge diffusion has become an important issue for organizations. The development of information technology establishes a solid base to accelerate knowledge diffusion. IT and related organizational innovations provide effective mechanisms for constructing flexible infrastructures that can link together and coordinate economic transactions at distant locations (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999). In essence, IT fosters the development of leaner, meaner, and more agile production systems that cut across firm boundaries and national borders. The underlying vision is that accelerating knowledge diffusion can speed up the dissemination of information technology. Knowledge diffusion is an essential content of the business strategy (Borghoff & Pareschi, 2003). However, existing theories of both information technology and knowledge have not specified the information technology strategy in the knowledge diffusion. This article introduces the information technology strategy in knowledge diffusion based on the knowledge cycle theory. The article describes how to advance knowledge diffusion by using the matched information technology strategy in a different knowledge diffusion lifecycle. The article shows how firms innovate and research to imitate knowledge and improve the diffusion of knowledge.
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Background

The relationship between knowledge and information is essential. Knowledge may be defined as information whose validity has been established through a test of proof and can therefore be distinguished from opinion, speculation, beliefs, or other types of unproven information (Liebeskind, Oliver, Zucker, & Brewer, 1996). This definition of knowledge consists of two primary classifications: information (explicit knowledge) and know-how (tacit knowledge) (Nonaka, 1991). Knowledge in this article refers to explicit knowledge. Information is knowledge that can be transmitted without loss of integrity once the syntactical rules required for deciphering it are known. Thus, knowledge as information implies knowing what something means and that it can be written down (Nonaka, 1994).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Knowledge Management: The management activities of creating, acquiring, interpreting, retaining, and transferring knowledge to improve performance by purposefully modifying behavior based on new knowledge ( Borghoff & Pareschi, 1997 ).

Knowledge: Information whose validity has been established through a test of proof and can therefore be distinguished from opinion, speculation, beliefs, or other types of unproven information ( Liebeskind et al., 1996 ). This definition of knowledge consists of two primary classifications: information (explicit knowledge) and know-how (tacit knowledge) ( Nonaka, 1991 ). Knowledge in this article refers to explicit knowledge.

Knowledge Lifecycle Management: The management of the environment that makes knowledge flow through all the different phases of its lifecycle ( Borghoff & Pareschi, 1997 ).

Knowledge Economy: The economy based on the production, assignment, and application of knowledge. Knowledge is the key economic asset that drives long-run economic performance ( Dunning, 2000 ).

Knowledge Diffusion Lifecycle: According to the extent of knowledge diffusion, the knowledge diffusion lifecycle can be divided into four stages, including incubation, nurture, promotion, and popularization ( Lang & Yuan, 2004 ).

Information Technology Economy: The economy based on the production, assignment, and application of information technology ( Varian et al., 2004 ).

Information: Knowledge that can be transmitted without loss of integrity once the syntactical rules required for deciphering it are known ( Nonaka, 1994 ).

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