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Sharing Best Practices: An Empirical Study of IT-Support for Knowledge Sharing.

J. P. Bansler and E. Havn.

Reference & Publication Year
Proceedings of the 9th European Conference on Information Systems, Bled, Slovenia, June 27-29, 2001

This study focuses on knowledge sharing in large, complex organizations.
The study examines the introduction and use of a Web-based system
designed to facilitate the circulating of best practices among middle
managers in a multi-national pharmaceutical company. Despite strong
commitment from senior management and several attempts to redesign and
reinvent the system over a three-year period, implementation of the
system eventually failed. We found that managers generally gave four
reasons for not using the system: (1) time pressure; (2) lack of
incentives; (3) the problem of “bragging”; and (4) the importance of
personal networks. A more important finding is that the group of
managers in this company did not constitute a single, uniform entity, a
coherent “community of practice”, and that the divisions within the
group hampered meaningful communication and knowledge sharing. We
suggest that these difficulties reflect the more general problem of
communicating across the boundaries of different practices and
communities of knowing.

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