Organizational Visions for Technology Assimilation : The Strategic Roads to Knowledge-Based Systems Success

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-18
Journal / PublicationIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1995


Despite the dramatically increased application of knowledge-based systems (KBS) technology, most of the enormous potential to leverage expert knowledge remains unrealized. The vast majority of KBS initiatives in industry and commerce have ended with unsatisfactory results. These failures can be primarily attributed to strategic mismanagement rather than technological shortcomings. Inspirational leadership and a needs-driven organizational vision are crucial for the effective assimilation of a new or emerging technology. KBS are no exception. A roads metaphor is identified as a basis for crafting and communicating such an organizational vision. Three alternative approaches for achieving a strategic impact with a technology are identified and described: the user-driven low road, the technostructure-driven high road and the team-based road network. The relative merits of these strategic roads, and their suitability to different organizational and knowledge structures are considered using a case-based methodology. Based on their research of the KBS technology assimilation processes at DuPont, Digital Equipment, and Xerox, the authors offer management advice to practitioners and recommend future areas for study. © 1995 IEEE

Research Area(s)

  • business needs, case studies, expert systems, information systems, knowledge-based systems, organizational behavior, organizational vision, Strategic management, technology assimilation, technology transfer