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Paper w78-2003-294:
Information technology-enabled knowledge sharing in multinational strategic alliances: media richness - task relevance fit

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Sexton M, Ingirige B, Betts M

Information technology-enabled knowledge sharing in multinational strategic alliances: media richness - task relevance fit

Abstract: Sharing knowledge in a strategic alliance is far from being a smooth and self-propelled process. An important determinant of successful knowledge sharing is the level of fit between the tasks being undertaken by alliance partners and the IT-enabled knowledge sharing mechanism being employed to carry out these tasks. This paper reports on ongoing research investigating IT-enabled knowledge sharing mechanisms in multinational strategic alliances within construction. First, the concept of media richness is introduced, which argues that the characteristic of a communication medium significantly determines how successfully that medium can share knowledge between participants. Second, the importance of task relevance is identified, emphasising that the success of a knowledge sharing mechanism is determined by how relevant the content of the message is to the receiver's work. These two themes are integrated to offer a media richness - task relevance fit model. This model is used as a framework to structure and evaluate interim research findings from a multinational alliance case study. The findings indicate that successful IT-enabled knowledge sharing mechanisms are closely linked to both media richness and the business logic and the social processes captured in the task relevance and task environment aspects of a virtual organisation. The results reinforce the need to adopt a social constructivist approach to IT-enabled knowledge sharing mechanisms, which challenges researchers and practitioners to understand different alliance stakeholder groups' interpretations of, and interactions with, the information technology.



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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by the University of Auckland. The assistance of the editor who provided the full texts and the structured metadata, Dr. Robert Amor, is gratefully appreciated.


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