Affiliated Organization

University of Amsterdam, Netherlands


This paper explores the dynamics of information- and knowledge-based activities in one ofthe world’s leading foreign exchange banks and its development of an innovative online trading system.These activities are analyzed using the framework of “the knowing organization,” which postulates thatlearning and innovation in organizations result from managing holistically the activities of sensemaking,knowledge creation, and decision-making (Choo 1998, 2002). In sensemaking, project members at thebank were driven by their shared beliefs about the competition, customers and technology to enact thechallenge of building an online dealing system. Knowledge creation focused on filling perceived gaps,and involved both expanding non-traditional capabilities within the group and acquiring expertise fromoutside the group. Decision making at the enterprise level to approve the project was formal andprocedural, while decision making at the operational level was open and entrepreneurial. As predictedby the model, the interactions between these activities were vital. The outcome of sensemaking providedthe context for knowledge creation and decision making, while the results of knowledge creationprovided expanded resources for decision making. The three sets of activities were integrated throughstrong leadership, group norms of trust and openness, and a set of shared vision and values.