The knowledge trap: an intranet implementation in a corporate environment

30/11/1999 - 01/04/2004

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The role of the intranet in knowledge sharing.

Primary research investigated in depth a single, maturing intranet in a large, distributed organisation. The qualitative approach that was adopted generated grounded explanation through case study description. In keeping with a sociotechnical analysis, close reference was paid to the environment in which the intranet was developed, with specific attention focused on the other actors with which the intranet was associated.

Examination of the knowledge management implementation actor-network, in which the intranet played a part, revealed that an intranet initially intended to motivate knowledge sharing has multiple roles. It furnishes individuals and small groups with personal projects; demonstrates the status of an organisation; connects people together for the purposes of knowledge sharing; focuses corporate attention on issues related to knowledge sharing; inhibits knowledge sharing; provides career direction; and measures organisational engagement with corporate knowledge management initiatives. 

The broad explanatory factor for these intranet dimensions is the nature of power relations within the corporate environment. The research developed the subject of information and communication technologies and knowledge sharing, and added clarification to the role of the intranet in such activity. Furthermore, it contributed new insight to the theme of power relations in knowledge management, a topic which, up to this point, had largely been neglected, and not made explicit, in the literature.

The knowledge trap: an intranet implementation in a corporate environment is a Research - Other Sources project funded by KPMG. Carried out in collaboration with KPMG and others. For further information please refer to
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Project Team

Hazel Hall
Director of CSI
+44 131 455 2760

Associated Publications

Hall, H. (2008, September). Culture as culprit: using actor-network theory to unpick power issues of knowledge exchange in corporate environments. Paper presented at Developing and sustaining a knowledge sharing culture, University of Warwick Business School.

Hall, H., Goody, M. (2007). KM culture and compromise - interventions to promote knowledge sharing supported by technology in corporate environments. Journal of Information Science, 33, (2), 181-188.

Hall, H. (2004). The intranet as actor: the role of the intranet in knowledge sharing. In: (Ed.) Proceedings of the international workshop on understanding sociotechnical action, 3-4 June 2004, Edinburgh, , () ( ed.). (pp. 109-111). Edinburgh: . Napier University.

Hall, H. (2003). Borrowed theory: applying exchange theories in information science research. Library and Information Science Research, 25, (), 287-306.

Davenport, E., Hall, H. (2002). Organizational learning and communities of practice. In: Cronin, B. (Ed.) Annual review of information science and technology, 36, () ( ed.). (pp. 171-227). Medford, NJ: . Information Today Inc.

Hall, H. (2002). Exploring knowledge sharing in distributed organisations: report on research in progress. In: (Ed.) KMSS 2002: the new scope of knowledge management in theory and in practice, , () ( ed.). (pp. ). : . .

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