Sunday, 28 June 2009

Knowledge creation, systems development

Supervisor #2 commented I should search on "knowledge creation" and "systems development". Seven papers came up including one by Jackson and Klobas, 2007. {Jackson, 2008 #1164}

Their paper is about building knowledge in projects. It attempts to apply a model of social constructivism to information systems development. The authors research IT projects, taking the view that for project communication to succeed, people need to ensure shared meanings are established to guide decisions and actions. The researchers aim to get project managers to realise that knowledge is shared understanding, gained through a process of continual sense-making and is a social process. They argue that an organising principle for ISD projects is to take an approach based on the philosophy and sociology of knowledge because the basic principle of understanding is a critical success factor in projects. They tabulate heuristics affecting knowledge sharing, derived from the literature. They list so many aspects that have already been researched that I can’t see what I can add. (Depressing) From 130 heuristics, they have created a survey tool for project managers to guide them in evaluating knowledge sharing in projects. They applied the model to twenty published case studies. To test the theoretical model, they guided users of the survey to rate the extent of which their project had each capability using a scale from one to ten, and to rate the importance of the capability to their project. That approach sounds positivist to me, so a bit contradictory to the paper title:
a practical application of social constructivism.
They conclude their proposed model of knowledge construction is a promising and practical tool for assessing knowledge management health of an ISD.

I have yet to work out how these authors' approach to knowledge fits into a situation that involves consultants as one of three parties in IT projects. And, I wonder how and if I should adapt my interview schedule so that I elicit more systems development and knowledge creation than I currently do.

JACKSON, P. & KLOBAS, J. (2008) Building knowledge in projects: A practical application of social constructivism to information systems development. International Journal of Project Management, 26, 329-337.

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