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The Assimilation of Software Process Innovations: An Organizational Learning Perspective

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Author Info

  • Robert G. Fichman

    (Boston College, 354D Fulton Hall, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts 02167)

  • Chris F. Kemerer

    (University of Pittsburgh, 278a Mervis Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260)

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    Abstract

    The burden of organizational learning surrounding software process innovations (SPIs)---and complex organizational technologies in general---creates a "knowledge barrier" that inhibits diffusion. Attewell (Attewell, P. 1992. Technology diffusion and organizational learning the case of business computing. Organ. Sci. 3(1) 1--19.) has suggested that many organizations will defer adoption until knowledge barriers have been sufficiently lowered; however, this leaves open the question of which organizations should be more likely to innovate, even in face of high knowledge barriers. It is proposed here that organizations will innovate in the presence of knowledge barriers when the burden of organizational learning is effectively lower, either because much of the required know-how already exists within the organization, or because such knowledge can be acquired more easily or more economically. Specifically, it is hypothesized that organizations will have a greater propensity to initiate and sustain the assimilation of SPIs when they have a greater scale of activities over which learning costs can be spread (learning-related scale), more extensive existing knowledge related to the focal innovation (related knowledge), and a greater diversity of technical knowledge and activities (diversity). An empirical study using data on the assimilation of object-oriented programming languages (OOPLs) by 608 information technology organizations strongly confirmed the importance of the three hypothesized factors in explaining the assimilation of OOPLs.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 43 (1997)
    Issue (Month): 10 (October)
    Pages: 1345-1363

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:43:y:1997:i:10:p:1345-1363

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    Related research

    Keywords: software process innovation; adoption; diffusion; assimilation; organizational learning; object-oriented programming; object orientation; disk-based survey;

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    Cited by:
    1. Coronado, Daniel & Acosta, Manuel & Fernández, Ana, 2008. "Attitudes to innovation in peripheral economic regions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6-7), pages 1009-1021, July.
    2. Gil, Nuno & Miozzo, Marcela & Massini, Silvia, 2012. "The innovation potential of new infrastructure development: An empirical study of Heathrow airport's T5 project," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 452-466.
    3. Amit Saini & Rajdeep Grewal & Jean Johnson, 2010. "Putting market-facing technology to work: Organizational drivers of CRM performance," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 365-383, December.
    4. Bojica, Ana Maria & Fuentes, Maria del Mar Fuentes, 2012. "Knowledge acquisition and corporate entrepreneurship: Insights from Spanish SMEs in the ICT sector," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 397-408.
    5. von Krogh, Georg & Spaeth, Sebastian & Lakhani, Karim R., 2003. "Community, joining, and specialization in open source software innovation: a case study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1217-1241, July.
    6. Vowles, Nicole & Thirkell, Peter & Sinha, Ashish, 2011. "Different determinants at different times: B2B adoption of a radical innovation," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 64(11), pages 1162-1168.
    7. Khansa, Lara & Liginlal, Divakaran, 2009. "Valuing the flexibility of investing in security process innovations," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 192(1), pages 216-235, January.
    8. Miralles, Francesc & Sieber, Sandra & Valor, Josep, 2005. "CIO herds and user gangs in the adoption of open source software," IESE Research Papers D/595, IESE Business School.
    9. Thomas Koslowski & Jens Strüker, 2011. "ERP On Demand Platform," Business & Information Systems Engineering, Springer, vol. 3(6), pages 359-367, December.
    10. Seleshi Sisaye & Jacob G. Birnberg, 2010. "Organizational development and transformational learning approaches in process innovations: A review of the implications to the management accounting literature," Review of Accounting and Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 9(4), pages 337 - 362, November.
    11. Peeters, T.J.G., 2013. "External knowledge search and use in new product development," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-5906731, Tilburg University.
    12. Nelson, Matthew L. & Shaw, Michael J., 2005. "Interorganizational System Standards Diffusion: The Role of Industry-Based Standards Development Organizations," Working Papers 05-0126, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business.
    13. Jordi Vilaseca-Requena & Joan Torrent-Sellens & Antoni Meseguer-Artola & Inma Rodríguez-Ardura, 2007. "An Integrated Model of the Adoption and Extent of E-Commerce in Firms," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 222-241, May.

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