Is Free Information Really Free? Information Supply into an IT-Based Organizational Memory System
Information sharing is a critical issue facing businesses today. In the United States some 90 percent of large private sector and 40 percent of public sector enterprises are reported to have at least one initiative in place to assist in the sharing of information. In contrast, the realities of not sharing information are great with estimates of up to $12 billion wasted each year as employees duplicate one another’s work. Information sharing is often facilitated by an IT-based organizational memory system, and this paper examines one such system at a large U.S.-based IT consulting firm. Our study examines what impacts information supply into the system. Using a wide-scale survey deployed to over 1,200 professionals with over a 30 percent response rate, we use structural equation modeling to show that information supply by an individual is a result of weighing up the personal costs and benefits of such supply. While the costs of information supply have been covered in depth in the literature, the benefits side of the equation has received little attention. This paper addresses that gap, and shows that the ability to influence is a critical component of the benefits the information supplier expects to receive to offset the costs of supplying information. We conclude by noting how this research may impact managers, suppliers and users of information sharing systems, and present ideas for future research.
Firth, David, "Is Free Information Really Free? Information Supply into an IT-Based Organizational Memory System" (2004). ICIS 2004 Proceedings. 46.