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Innovation in the Knowing Organization: A Case Study of an e- Commerce Initiative

Chun Wei Choo
University of Toronto, Canada
Ray Johnston
Knowledge Capital Network, Canadian Human Resource Planners, Canada

This paper explores the dynamics of information- and knowledge-based activities in one of the world’s leading foreign exchange banks and its development of an innovative online trading system. These activities are analyzed using the framework of “the knowing organization,” which postulates that learning and innovation in organizations result from managing holistically the activities of sensemaking, knowledge creation, and decision-making (Choo 1998, 2002). In sensemaking, project members at the bank were driven by their shared beliefs about the competition, customers and technology to enact the challenge of building an online dealing system. Knowledge creation focused on filling perceived gaps, and involved both expanding non-traditional capabilities within the group and acquiring expertise from outside the group. Decision making at the enterprise level to approve the project was formal and procedural, while decision making at the operational level was open and entrepreneurial. As predicted by the model, the interactions between these activities were vital. The outcome of sensemaking provided the context for knowledge creation and decision making, while the results of knowledge creation provided expanded resources for decision making. The three sets of activities were integrated through strong leadership, group norms of trust and openness, and a set of shared vision and values.

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Reference:Choo, C.W., Johnston, R. (2003). "Innovation in the Knowing Organization: A Case Study of an e- Commerce Initiative," University of Amsterdam, Netherlands . Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, 3(4). http://sprouts.aisnet.org/3-4
Keywords:sensemaking, knowledge creation, decision making, innovation
Item Type:Article - Volume 3 Article 4 (2003)

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