Knowledge Acquisition by Geographically Isolated Technical Workers: The Emergence of Spontaneous Practices from Organizational and Community-Based Relations
The expression geographically isolated technical workers (GITWs) addresses those individuals which carry out technical tasks and work distant from any other member of their organization. In recent years firms have made substantial investments in Knowledge Management Systems (KMSs) in order to support knowledge acquisition by distant workers. KMSs, however, did not meet the expected target. KM-related activities are perceived by GITWs as tiresome and extraneous to their task. In order to improve its effectiveness, KM needs to be integrated in the daily practices of workers. Through the study of two cases, this paper analyzes the practices spontaneously enacted by GITW to acquire technical knowledge. It builds on the theory of Communities of Practice by considering how formal organizational relations, as well as community-based ones, contribute to the emergence of spontaneous practices. The obtained results are used to formulate recommendations on KMSs design and management.
KeywordsKnowledge Management Knowledge Acquisition Technical Knowledge Knowledge Worker Knowledge Management System
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