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DEVELOPING WITHIN-COMPANY INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES (ICT) INNOVATION DIFFUSION NETWORKS: A STUDY OF THREE AUSTRALIAN MAJOR CONTRACTORS

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Peansupap, Vachara; Walker, Derek; Goldsmith, Peter; Wilson, Andrew

DEVELOPING WITHIN-COMPANY INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES (ICT) INNOVATION DIFFUSION NETWORKS: A STUDY OF THREE AUSTRALIAN MAJOR CONTRACTORS

Abstract: The innovation diffusion and knowledge management literature strongly supports the importance of communities of practice (COP) for enabling knowledge about how to use and adopt innovation initiatives. One of the most powerful tools for innovation diffusion is word-of-mouth wisdom from committed individuals who mentor and support each other. Close proximity for face-to-face interaction is highly effective, however, many organisations are geographically dispersed with projects being virtual linked sub-organisations using ICT to communicate. ICT has also introduced a useful facilitating technology for developing knowledge networks. This paper presents findings from a research program concentrating on ICT innovation diffusion in the Australian construction industry. One way in which ICT diffusion is taking place was found to be through within-company communities of practice. We undertook in-depth unstructured interviews with three of the major 10 to 15 contractors in Australia to discuss their ICT diffusion strategies. We discovered that in all three cases, within-company networked communities of practice was a central strategy. Further, effective diffusion of ICT groupware tools can be critical in developing COP where they are geographically dispersed.

Keywords: Communities Of Practice, ICT Diffusion, Innovation, Technology Transfer

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