Distributed “Knowing in Practice” in Workshare Contexts: A Case Study of a Knowledge Management System

Distributed “Knowing in Practice” in Workshare Contexts: A Case Study of a Knowledge Management System

Lakshmi Goel (University of North Florida, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2189-2.ch010

Abstract

Many companies set up operations offshore and complete projects by 'worksharing' where responsibilities are split between geographically dispersed offices. This chapter looks at how knowledge management systems facilitate practices essential for collaborative, distributed work. A qualitative case study is conducted at a large multinational engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) company that has successfully implemented a knowledge management system. The study uses the framework of 'knowing in practice' to the context of worksharing. This chapter contributes to the practice by providing specific suggestions that can be implemented from a social technical perspective to facilitate worksharing, specifically, suggesting technological factors and efforts needed by users and managers in facilitating worksharing. This chapter contributes to research by applying the lens of 'knowing in practice' to the context of worksharing.
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Literature Review

Offshoring work to outsourced vendors or geographically dispersed offices came into vogue in the 90s. Despite several operational challenges (Bloomberg, 2006), offshoring is now accepted as a mainstay of many organizations. Cultural issues, geographical distance, and temporal boundaries have been identified as major challenges in offshoring (George, 2006; Jarvenpaa, 2016; Lacity and Willcocks, 2017). Somewhat more recent is the practice of worksharing. To manage the risk of contracting with third party offshore vendors, companies may look to changing governance structures to acquire, own subsidiaries, establish branch offices or local presence in offshore locations (Foerstl et al., 2016; Tate and Bals, 2017). Companies have looked to employ IT to facilitate worksharing activities, and have met with mixed success (Nuwangi et al., 2014). This paper attempts to theorize on successfully using a KMS to facilitate worksharing.

We start by discussing the context of offshore worksharing, and the challenges in managing knowledge in that context. We next discuss the role of KMS in offshore worksharing and introduce our theoretical framework of “Knowing in Practice”.

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