The Role of Knowledge Sharing in Raising the Task Innovativeness of Systems Analysts

The Role of Knowledge Sharing in Raising the Task Innovativeness of Systems Analysts

Iris Reychav (Ariel University Center of Samaria, Israel), Eric W. Stein (Penn State Great Valley, USA), Jacob Weisberg (Bar-Ilan University, Israel) and Chanan Glezer (Ariel University Center of Samaria, Israel)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/jkm.2012040101
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This study examines the relationship between creativity and innovation at the individual level and how knowledge sharing mediates the relationship between these two constructs. A survey was conducted that measured individual creativity, innovativeness, and four types of knowledge sharing: explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge (e.g., experience, know-how, and expertise) sharing. It was postulated that the type of knowledge mediates the relationship between creativity and the innovativeness of task performance among systems analysts. The results show that creativity was positively related to task innovativeness. This relationship was mediated negatively by explicit knowledge sharing but positively mediated by tacit knowledge sharing based on know-how among project team members. These results have implications for system development and implementation projects.
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2. Background And Theory

The IS community has had a strong interest in creativity in organizational contexts. This has sparked questions such as how to make the IS organization more creative (Case, 1997; Couger, 1994, 1996; Couger et al., 1993; Glass, 1992; Harkness et al., 1996; Humphrey, 1997; Nambisan et al., 1999), how IT can make managers more creative (Elam & Mead, 1987; Massetti, 1996, 1998), how creative individuals use IT differently than their less-creative peers (Foxall & Bhate, 1991; Larsen, 1999), creative applications of knowledge (Baer, Kaufman, & Gentile, 2004; Dorst & Cross, 2001; Goldschmidt & Tatsa, 2005; Liu, 2000, 2011). Some, but much less has been written about the creativity of system analysts and IS professionals (e.g., Seidel et al., 2010; Yang & Cheng, 2010).

Koesler (1964) defines creativity as the ability to associate one system of thinking (i.e., matrix of thought) to another seemingly disparate one, something he refers to as bisociation. Farid-Foad et al. (1993) define creativity as that which “...results in generation of new and useful ideas or the combination of existing ideas into new and useful concepts to satisfy a need” (p. 4). We are interested in how systems analysts are able to accomplish such associations and transformations.

There are number areas in which systems analysts exercise their creativity. For example, systems analysts exercise creativity during processes such as (1) problem identification (2) information searching and encoding, and (3) idea and alternative generation (Amabile, 1983; Reiter- Palmon & Illies, 2004). The processes themselves encourage, even require, creativity as systems analysts try to achieve a deeper understanding of the systems they are tasked with building or implementing. Other studies of how individuals come to develop creative ideas (Drazin, Glynn, & Kazanjian, 1999; Mumford, 2000; Shalley et al., 2004; Camelo-Ordaz et al., 2011) also emphasize the importance of context on creative expression.

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