The Impact of Technological Frames on Knowledge Management Procedures

The Impact of Technological Frames on Knowledge Management Procedures

Chun-Tsung Chen (Kao Yuan University, Taiwan)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-845-1.ch054
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Abstract

This article intended to explore technological frames held by organisational group members that implicitly served to shape their interpretations of events to give meaning and deliver actions in knowledge management procedures. The research used the existing technological frame (Orlikowski & Gash, 1994) concept to interpret the social aspect of the problems associated with the introduction and utilisation of information technology in conducting knowledge management systems. This research was carried out in the context of four different industries in Taiwan and four cases based on each industry were chosen.
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Background

During the previous two decades, information systems and information technology have become the key factors of organisational development (Brancheau & Wetherbe, 1990). This trend has been demonstrated by a significant number of successful and unsuccessful cases (Ginzberg, 1981) of several different organisations around the world which are using information technology. All of these cases support the belief that organisations outperforming competitors in the business world are those using state-of-art technologies efficiently (Brancheau & Wetherbe, 1990). This research identified the elements of diagnosis and presented recommendations to incorporate information technology into organisations and successfully developed competitiveness and productivity elements in the business functions context.

With the advent of the age of knowledge economics, organisations utilise information technology in order to survive in a dynamic challenging environment. While adopting knowledge management systems within firms has become the trend in Taiwan, education of employees to be familiar with modern technology remains important.

Individual vision on technological phenomena provides strategies devised by organisational top management with meaning. Each individual establishes some strategies to observe, understand, and use technology. These strategies have been re-created in literature as a ‘technological frame.’ This term comes from a revision of technological phenomena in the social scope, in which the common perspective and technology social construction are analysed. Technological frame means an individual’s interpretation of technology and how they shape their behaviour toward it. This term originally comes from Orlikowski and Gash (1994) who set the groundwork for a sociocognitive approach toward information technology. The main point is that an understanding of an individual’s interpretations of a technology is important in order to understand their interaction with technology. Therefore, in knowledge management procedures, individuals need to understand technologies before interacting with them, and during the sense-making processes, they develop particular assumptions, expectations, and knowledge of the technology, which then serves to shape subsequent actions toward technology (Orlikowski & Gash, 1994).

In most organisations, it is assumed only technologists can handle technologies effectively; other personnel such as high-middle level managers and other staff generally do not deal with it as effectively as technologists. This is because different group members within organisations have difficulties and conflicts around the development, use, and changes associated with technology (Orlikowski & Gash, 1994). As a result, research on technological frames among different group members in firms is necessary and valuable because research outcomes are useful and helpful when firms implement the knowledge management systems. This article focuses on exploring the impact of technological frames among different stakeholders linked to knowledge management procedures. By covering all potential group members of a knowledge management system, this research gained a better understanding of each individual’s perceptions and expectations toward information technology and knowledge management.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Technological Frames: Orlikowski and Gash (1994) use “technological frame” to identify the subset of members’ organizational frames that concern the assumptions, expectations, and knowledge they use to understand technology in organizations. This includes not only the nature and role of technology itself, but also the specific conditions, applications, and consequences of that technology in particular contexts.

Knowledge Management (KM): Malhotra (1998) stated KM caters to the critical issues of organisational adoption, survival, and competence in face of increasingly discontinuous environmental change. Essentially, it embodies organisational processes that seek synergistic combination of data and information processing capacity of information technologies and the creative and innovative capacity of human beings.

Stakeholders: Refers to a large group of individuals in organizations. Orlikowski and Gash (1994) briefly divided stakeholders into managers, technologists, and users.

Knowledge Management Procedures: Refers to the process in knowledge management and can be summarized as creation, acquisition, storage, sharing, and transfer (Bassie, 1997; Davenport, Jarvenpaa, & Beers, 1996; Davenport & Prusak, 1998; Dilnutt, 2000; Drucker, 1985; Mayo, 1998; Murray & Myers, 1997; Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995; Sveiby, 1997).

Organisational Learning: Huber (1991) defined as a change in the range of an organisation’s potential behaviors, which may or may not contribute to enhance effectiveness.

Frames: Generally referred to as “frames of reference” or “cognitive structures” in the field of psychology. Krippendorff (1986) defines them as the context, point of view, set of presuppositions, assumptions, evaluative criteria form a cognitive system with which a person perceives, judges or selectively constrains a course of actions or outcome thereof or with which a scientific observer delineates the subject matter of his theory.

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