Doctoral Candidate: Nick Oostervink
Research Track: Information & Innovation Management
Start date: August 2014
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Marleen Huysman, Dr. Marlous Agterberg, and Prof. Dr. Bart van den Hooff.
Organisations aim to improve knowledge sharing among professionals to increase efficiency and boost innovation. Since professionals learn and innovate continuously in practice, sharing new insights can be very beneficial for professionals and organisations alike. However, managerial attempts to ‘make’ people share their expertise and associated knowledge often proves to be highly problematic. To understand the dynamics involved with knowledge development in organisations, my research aims to unravel in what ways various organisational elements (e.g. communication technologies or processes) might facilitate or frustrate knowledge sharing. I do so by adopting an institutional theory lens, focusing on institutional logics and institutional loose/decoupling of policy and practice.
My first study focuses on the use of enterprise social media (e.g. Yammer). By adopting an institutional logics lens, this paper shows that the affordances (i.e. action possibilities) of such a technology are used by professionals differently compared to what managers expected beforehand. In response to the contradiction in institutional logics (profession versus corporation) professionals engage in strategic behaviour. We thereby show the ways in which social technologies such as enterprise social media can facilitate but also frustrate knowledge sharing. The paper is published in Journal of Computer–Mediated Communication: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcc4.12153/abstract
My second study focuses on the processes through which deviations in practice become validated and potentially adopted as a new standard way of working over time. By studying how therapists continuously learn and innovate in practice, we show that therapists initially decouple their actual work from existing formal policies (e.g. procedures) in order to innovate and potentially develop better ways of working. To determine whether such innovations are actually better, new practices go through a validation process in which other therapists and the organisation itself becomes involved with discussing, testing, and adopting the new practice. This project is still in progress.