Customer data collected from business transactions have long been used in the retailing industry as a basis for analysing company performance and consumer behaviour. However, despite the widespread recognition of the value of customer data for retailers, relatively few studies have examined the process by which data are transformed into information and organisational knowledge. Such transformation is considered as part of organizational learning. Even fewer studies have considered the dynamics of cross-functional knowledge sharing and integration within the retailing sector. To fill this gap, this research-inprogress looks at one of the Britain’s largest retailers, Boots the Chemist (BTC), transforms its customer data into knowledge via organizational learning. The likely contribution to the literature is like such attempt could be considered as the first step towards linking up the growing division of organizational learning and knowledge management studies. The purpose of the research is to examine how customer data collected from business transactions were used as the foundation for generating strategically valuable information and knowledge, and how knowledge was shared and integrated across business functions. Several important issues are to be highlighted in the study, in particular: (1) the transformation of data, information and knowledge via organizational learning; (2) the integration of departmental knowledge and the creation of new organisational knowledge; (3) knowledge sharing as a socio-technical phenomenon. The case illustrates the importance of developing and maintaining interdepartmental relationships as a means of sharing and integrating strategically valuable knowledge.
Huang, Jimmy C.; Pan, Shan L.; Tsai, Y. S.; and Hsieh, Ming-Huei, "The Interrelationships of Managing Knowledge and Organizational Learning: A Case Study of a British Retailer" (2000). AMCIS 2000 Proceedings. 428.