Collaborative Technologies and Organizational Learning provides new insight from a longitudinal study of a public sector organization's experience with implementing a specific collaborative technology, Lotus Notes. The book includes a discussion of theoretical bases for organizational learning as well as practice prescriptions for those interested in installing or using Lotus Notes to leverage the intellectual capital already existing within an organization. From a theoretical perspective the book discusses a multiplicity of theoretical bases underlying organizational learning including single and double loop learning, expectancy theory, experience curve theory, reciprocity theory, coordination theory, open systems theory, optimal curve theory, and need-pull theory. Tom Davenport, a well-known management guru recently lamented that "if you can find a case in which Lotus Notes has fundamentally changed the organizational culture and dynamics of information exchange, I'll waterski from Boston to Nantucket in January." This book addresses some of Davenport's concerns by focusing on the all important first step in implementing a collaborative technology-determining what implementation approach(es) work best in a given organizational environment. Large scale organizational investments in collaborative technology have skyrocketed. However, little empirical evidence exists to justify large expenditures on these technologies and associated training and operating costs. Collaborative Technologies and Organizational Learning is intended for readers seeking greater understanding in how collaborative technologies such as Lotus Notes helps foster organizational learning
Robert E. Neilson is chair of the Information Strategy Department at the Information Resources Management college of the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. Dr. Neilson has written on a broad array of topics especially national security policy, including the newly emerging field of information warfare. Dr. Neilson's recent foray into the organizational learning and collaborative technology arena draws from his 25 years of experience in studying and managing information technology applications and projects in domestic and defense-related organizations. His work in the area of collaborative learning technologies is now recognized throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Table of Contents
|Introduction: Setting the Stage||1|
|Conceptual Linkages: An Analysis of the Organizational learning. Collaborative Technology and Intellectual Capital Literature||13|
|Case Study Design and Methodology||46|
|Research Question and Propositions: Zeroing In||61|
|Results and Findings: Insight Gained||73|
|Conclusions and Implications: Where do we go from here?||112|
|The Final Word, Rough Metaphors, Suggestions and Recommendations|
In the post-organizational reengineering era, public and private organizations are searching for a new holy grail. Reengineering gurus and corporate downsizing executioners are in the midst of their respective "mea culpa" acts, claiming that they may have erred too much on the side of structural organizational interventions at the expense of behavioral interventions. Concurrently, announcements for a myriad of conferences, symposia, and workshops for those seeking new insight cross my desk daily showcasing the latest and greatest in balanced scorecards, knowledge management, beyond reengineering, organizational outcome measurement, complexity and non-linear dynamics in a linear world, and so on. From a technological perspective, organizations are transferring larger and larger bitstreams of information across, within, and among organizational units and strategic partners. Much of this information is now transmitted using collaborative technologies (groupware) or intranets in the hopes that information will be shared across organizational boundaries thereby "magically" creating an organizational vice individual asset.
These seemingly disparate occurrences have one thing in common. The concept of organizational learning permeates much of the continuing discussion among post-reengineering advocates, groupware proponents and those who organize the plethora of conferences that seem to spring to life like mushrooms. Organizational learning is a strong candidate to replace reengineering as the next intellectual bastion on the continuously twisting road to increased organizational productivity. However, there is a paucity of research on how transferring intellectual materials via groupware products fosters organizational learning. This book provides a first glance into intellectual intersection between organizational learning and collaborative technologies.
The book is intended to serve two audiences: (1) the academic community; and, (2) public and private sector practitioners who seek greater understanding of the underlying bases behind organizational learning. Most importantly, the book contains practice prescriptions for those interested in increasing the chances of successfully implementing a collaborative technology (i.e., Lotus Notes�). The book begins with an analysis of the organizational learning, intellectual capital and collaborative technologies literature to ascertain if there are commonalities or themes that run through the literature. Next, theoretical bases are discussed and critically reviewed using a series five questions as a focal point of discussion followed by a discussion of the methodology used in the case study. Results of an exploratory case study are presented including a series of practice prescriptions followed by a final section on building organizational learning understanding through metaphors. Throughout the book, I have tried to avoid taking a techno-utopist view of the subject matter, attempting instead to steer a course between the techno-utopists and techno-phobics.