Lichtenstein, Sharman 2004, Knowledge development and creation in email, in Proceedings of the 37th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, IEEE Computer Society, Los Alamitos, Calif., pp. 1-10.
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Newly created knowledge is increasingly viewed as a highly valuable source of competitive advantage for business. Email is explored in its recently recognized role as a place of organizational knowledge development and creation, employing discourse analysis of email conversations as the research approach. This paper describes a knowledge development lifecycle derived from the empirical study, and provides insight into the nature of knowledge development and creation in organizations. We found that in selected email conversations, employees naturally and intuitively build purpose driven new knowledge incrementally and iteratively, crystallizing knowledge under construction by submitting it repeatedly to a range of key stakeholders for comment, until a 'consensus' is reached regarding the outcome. Our findings identify the process of knowledge qualification in organizational knowledge creation, and suggest that organizational knowledge may be politically constructed. The research results have the potential to assist organizations in understanding and facilitating processes and conditions for knowledge creation and development. The study also highlights the potential for email as a key component in a company's formal KM strategy.
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