Information Technology as a Jealous Mistress: Competition for Knowledge Between Individuals and Organizations.

Information Technology as a Jealous Mistress: Competition for Knowledge Between Individuals and Organizations.

By Margaret Ann Neale, Terri Griffith, John Sawyer
2000Working Paper No. 1611

Information technology may play the role of a jealous mistress when it comes to the relationship between individual and organizational knowledge creation. Information technology can facilitate the dissemination of knowledge across the organization - even to the point of making virtual groups a viable alternative to face-to-face work. However, unless managed, the combination of information technology and virtual work may serve to change the distribution of tacit versus explicit knowledge within the organization. While greater access to explicit knowledge may be of short term benefit to the organization, the long term effect could be marginalization of individually held knowledge, and perhaps, less overall knowledge creation in extreme cases. This paper advances theory and informs practice by illustrating the relationships between individual and organizational knowledge across the range of contexts enables by information technologies.