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Information Technology and Organizational learning: The IT Role on OL at Accenture and ABB
Mälardalen University, School of Sustainable Development of Society and Technology.
Mälardalen University, School of Sustainable Development of Society and Technology.
2008 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Information technology (IT) is considered as a driving force in the development of organizations but earlier research has shown that technology is not enough to build, improve and increase organizational capabilities and performances. This means that organizational learning (OL) is an effective theory to capture and nourish knowledge in order to create knowledge driven competitive advantage. IT, however, plays a major role to create and share new knowledge to promote organizational learning. In today’s competitive environment it is an urgent requirement that organizations must develop and utilize IT based applications or systems to create a learning environment so that both employees and organizations can learn in an innovative ways, but the question remains how IT impacts OL in such a way that organizations can improve performances and capabilities complying with organization’s strategic goals.

This thesis deals with the use of IT in organizational learning at both levels; 1) learning at individual level to know that how individuals learn in an organization and how IT support learning at this stage and 2) learning at organizational level that focuses on how an organization learns and how IT affects it. The purpose of this study is to identify the relationship between IT and OL and describe the role of IT in promoting OL through the study of two selected companies, Accenture and ABB, employing the OL concept. To achieve the purpose of this study a qualitative approach has been used as it provides a thorough understanding about the role of IT in OL.

The analysis presents a thorough insight of organizational learning dividing it into learning at individual level which is based on the Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995)’s SECI model for knowledge conversion and learning at organizational level using the Huber (1991)’s learning processes to develop as well as facilitate the organizational learning. The role of IT is analyzed through the knowledge management strategies from Hansen et al. (1999).

The results show that information technology has an impact over organizational learning as IT facilitates OL at both the individual level and the organizational level in creating knowledge which ultimately enables organizations to improve capabilities and enhance performances to cope with change. Companies are using various IT application or tools to promote OL either through knowledge depository database, online training, staff rotation planning or various IT based communication channels. The use of knowledge management strategy and the role of IT on OL coincide with the strategic objective set by the company. Companies also use different combinations between tacit and explicit knowledge in respond to the strategic goal. Both tacit and explicit knowledge are always used in all companies but the mixture produces different results. It is the management that has to determine the right combination between them to create the maximum impact on OL. IT can be a tool help managing tacit and explicit knowledge but people are more important in the process of knowledge creation as it is individuals who possess the critical minds led to learning. It is important to realize a fact that organization will never learn if its people do not learn.

The work is of great interest to the parties involved in organizational learning using information technology.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalens högskola , 2008. , p. 52
Keywords [en]
Information technology, Organizational learning, Knowledge, Knowledge management
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-770OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-770DiVA, id: diva2:121404
Presentation
2008-06-04, R1-256, School of Sustainable Development of Society and Technology, Mälardalen University, Västerås, 09:30
Uppsok
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2008-06-19 Created: 2008-06-19 Last updated: 2010-10-21

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