Improving the process of finding and acquiring new information technology (IT) has been called "one of the most persistently challengingtopicsintheITfield"(Fichman1992,p.95). Inordertoimprovetheprocess,wemustfirstidentifythecomponents imbedded within it. We employ the concept of absorptive capacity (Cohen and Levinthal 1990) to focus and synthesize research in innovation, communication, and organizational learning in order to address the question: What are the roles of knowledge and communication during the new IT introduction process? Absorptivecapacityistheabilitytoidentify,assimilate,andexploitexternalinformation(CohenandLevinthal1990). Itiscomprised ofpriorrelevantknowledgeandcommunicationtofacilitatethetransferofknowledge. Ithaspreviouslybeenstudiedfromaneconomic perspective, focusing on revenues and expenses. Our aim in this research was to develop a behavioral model that could be used to identify where spending should be allocated. Tobuildthemodel,weconductedaliteraturereview,groupmeetingswithpractitioners,interviews,andtwocasestudies. Theliterature reviewprovidesthejustificationforamodeloftechnologyintroductionthatexaminescommunicationandknowledge. Thegroup meetings and interviews helped us to identify the nature of the problem from a practitioner perspective. They also provided support for the basic components of absorptive capacity as we have defined it: prior relevant knowledge, communication network, and communicationclimate. Thecasestudiesprovidedanadditionalcomponent:absorptiondeterminantsthatprovidesomeoftheimpetus to build absorptive capacity. Thisisoneofaseriesofstudiesaimedatuncoveringthedetailsofthe1Tintroductionprocess. Thisresearchprogrampromisesto provide practitioners with concrete suggestions for improving absorptive capacity and thus, IT introduction process effectiveness. From a theoretical perspective, this research addresses the current lack of theory in information systems (IS) innovation (Swanson 1994)andisaimedatdevelopingabehavioral-basedconceptualizationofabsorptivecapacityforuseintheISfield. Inaddition,we provide a foundation for future longitudinal research into theprocess of 1T introduction.
Brown, Susan and Chervany, Norman, "Effective Information Technology Introduction: the Roles of Knowledge and Communication" (1995). ICIS 1995 Proceedings. 41.