Can lean media support knowledge sharing? Investigating a hidden advantage of process improvement

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-163
Journal / PublicationIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2003


Is there a positive link between the use of collaborative technologies and knowledge sharing? The body of empirical evidence compiled so far suggests a negative answer to this question. Many explanations have been proposed, the most common being that current collaborative technologies do not yet have enough sophistication, or do not yet provide enough media richness, to enable knowledge sharing. This paper presents evidence that not only suggests that this explanation is wrong, but also that simple collaborative technologies can have a positive effect on knowledge sharing in organizations. This paper shows that, when combined with appropriate social processes, collaborative technologies may foster knowledge sharing. It does so by focusing on process improvement as a group process, and showing that: 1) process improvement is a catalyst to knowledge sharing and 2) a lean communication medium, namely e-mail conferencing, has a positive impact on knowledge sharing when used to support process improvement initiatives.

Research Area(s)

  • Action research, Brazil, Collaborative technologies, Electronic communication, Knowledge sharing, New Zealand, Process improvement