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Knowledge sharing in the introduction of a new technology: psychological contracts, subculture interactions and non-codified knowledge in CRM systems

By David Jesse Finnegan


This longitudinal comparative study using a multidisciplinary approach, applies a processual\ud analysis (Pettigrew, 1985; Pettigrew, 1990; Pettigrew, 1997) from a knowledge sharing perspective, to the implementation of what the literature shows to be a relatively under researched area of Customer Relationship Management( CRM) systemsi n contemporary (2001-2004) situations within Birmingham City Council and IBM. A specific focus is given to areas neglected in previous CRM studies - sub-cultures, psychological contracts, how tacit/non-codified knowledge is surfaced and shared, and with what effects on implementation. It investigates how the system stakeholders and the information system (IS) itself evolved through encountering barriers, sharing knowledge, finding new uses and inventing workarounds. A rich picture emerges of how sub-cultural silos of knowledge linked with psychological contracts and power-based relationships influence and inhibit adoption and acceptance of the CRM system. A major contribution of this processual study is to focus on the relatively neglected 'R' in CRM systems implementations.\ud Hitherto, there has been little attempt to analyse the micro elements in the implementation of CRM systems using the lens of a multidisciplinary approach in a longitudinal study. The investigation of knowledge sharing (in particular non-codified knowledge sharing) across the key sub-cultures in the implementation process of CRM systems remains understudied. Scholars such as Lawrence and Lorch (1967), Boland and Tenkasi (1996), Newell et al. (2002) and Iansiti (1993) write of 'knowing of what. others know', 'mutual perspective taking', 'shared mental space' and 'T- shaped skills', as aids to tacit /non-codified knowledge sharing.\ud However, they do not address fully the micro processes that lead to the above. This research aims to fill this knowledge gap, by investigating the micro elements (including in our study the psychological contracts) that lead to 'mutual perspective taking', enabling tacit/noncodified knowledge sharing across the key sub-cultures and their impacts on the adaptation and acceptance of a CRM system. This processual study lays a strong foundation for further research along the route of investigating multiple micro level elements in the process of implementation of a CRM system in order to enhance understanding of such phenomena in a contemporary situation.\ud This qualitative study compares the CRM implementations at IBM. COM and Birmingham City Council. It penetrates the knowledge sharing issues faced by practitioners in a system integration environment. We highlight and discuss the importance of psychological contracts and their interdependencies on sub-cultural interactions and knowledge sharing. We have been able to relate and discuss real life issues in the light of existing academic theories, in order to enhance our understanding of the relatively neglected knowledge sharing phenomena in a CRM environment. The processual analysis framework extensively used and further developed in this research provides keys to its further use in enhancing the richness of future IS implementation studies at a micro level.\ud The research contributes to the study of IS development by providing an integrative approach investigating the existing academic understandings at a micro level in a contemporary situation. A major contribution is also a detailed insight into the process of Boland and Tenkasi's (1996) 'mutual perspective taking' through the investigation of psychological contracts and their interdependencies on sub-cultural interaction and knowledges haring. An interesting finding has been that the distinctive contexts of the two cases have had lesser effects than the distinctive nature of CRM Systems and the implementation processes adopted.\ud The study shows that irrespective of sectoral backgrounds the two organisations studied in this research failed to address adequately a range of common issues related to human behaviour, psychology, organisational characteristics, sub-cultural interactions and knowledge sharing. According to our research findings these factors have greater explanatory power for the results achieved than the distinctive contexts in which the two organisations operated

Topics: QA76, HF
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