Knowledge collaboration in organizations
Organizations have traditionally been conceptualized as information processing systems that must be appropriately coordinated to manage external and internal sources of uncertainty (Tushman and Nadler, 1978, Galbraith, 1973). Yet, despite the wealth of information proffered by increasingly embedded information systems and technologies in today’s organizations, the coordination of knowledge work remains problematic. This is because knowledge is sticky and not easily transferable (Nonaka, 1994). Actors embedded in different communities of practice bring with them significant differences in problem conceptualizations and interpretive schemes, speak different technical languages and have often disparate vested interests rooted in their expertise. For these reasons, knowledge integration processes can result in misunderstandings, incorrect interpretations and attributions, and team conflicts. This book chapter will explore the challenges and mechanisms underlying knowledge work and the role of technologies in transforming it. Topics discussed will include knowledge sharing mechanisms – such as dialogue, boundary objects, collaborative agreements and brokering roles, to name a few – as well as the how technology is transforming the processes of knowledge co-creation.