Academic journal article Journal of International Technology and Information Management

Creativity, Coordination and Knowledge Co-Creation on a Global Scale-The Process Perspective

Academic journal article Journal of International Technology and Information Management

Creativity, Coordination and Knowledge Co-Creation on a Global Scale-The Process Perspective

Article excerpt


Between 25% and 40% of the workforce can be classified as knowledge workers today, and this proportion is likely to increase in the future. (Davenport, 2010). Knowledge workers think for a living, solve problems, understand and meet the needs of customers, make complex decisions, as well as, collaborate and communicate with other people in the course of doing their work (Davenport, 2005). They are reflective practitioners who reflect "on action," and while "in action" (Schon, 1983). They are the key to innovation and competitiveness in today's organization (Davenport 2010).

Knowledge is a combination of experience, context, interpretation and reflection and involves more human participation than information (Davenport, 2005). Knowledge emerges through human interaction (Kakihara and Sorensen, 2002). As such, it is inseparable from individuals and their actions (Davenport & Prusak, 1998). Thus, knowledge in a business context needs to be leveraged to create business value. A way to achieve it is through the business process (BP) perspective that provides a context for, and the overall purpose of knowledge work in an organization. Thus, BPs could be seen as a nexus around which knowledge sharing and creation can thrive (El Sawy & Josefek, 2003).

More recently, to address issues fundamental to knowledge economy and following the years of BP automation and a very mechanistic view of a BP, the field of Business Process Management (BPM) has been extended to include processes involving knowledge work. To distinguish them from highly repetitive, highly structured procedural processes, these processes are now termed "knowledge-intensive". Even more, these BPs are now considered to be the most valuable organisational processes today as they add the most value and have the greatest impact on long-term success (Davenport, 2005).

The process perspective sees the knowledge activities as interconnected and as such should be coordinated in order to contribute to business value creation, but not in an a priori, rigid way. While the research on knowledge-intensive processes is still emerging, based on a literature review (described later in the paper), it is possible to observe that these processes are predominantly studied in the organizational context i.e. either within or across formal organisations. However, in very recent times new tools and technologies for peer-to-peer collaboration and coordination became easily and readily available taking knowledge BPs outside of the organizational boundaries to include independent knowledge workers who are not organisationally bound. "We are witnessing a growing trend of decentralization and disintermediation that is deeply modifying the organization of our society, traditionally based on high-level of hierarchical specialization and delegation with power concentration and centralization in the hands of few powerful individuals, global institutions or multinational companies" (Iandoli, 2009).

We now see the emergence of global innovation and new types of business processes that could be best described as global knowledge-intensive BP (GKIBP). In this research we define a GKIBP as:

* A process of coordinated knowledge co-creation without pre-defined coordination patterns

* This process is executed by various knowledge agents (organisations, independent or organisationally bound individuals)

* From more than one country/geographical location,

* Resulting in a knowledge product (artefact) of a commercial/business value.

This definition enables us to distinguish GKIBPs from ordinary global supply chain coordination and other B2B processes as they are organisationally-bound (i.e. regulated by the participating organisations' norms and regulations) and do not involve independent knowledge agents. However, these independent knowledge agents may be an important resource in knowledge co-creation, collaborative processes in virtual communities (such as Wikipedia) are also excluded as they do not result in an artefact of a commercial products distributed to paying customers. …

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