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Examining the Strategic Alignment and Implementation Success of a KMS: A Subculture-Based Multilevel Analysis


  • M. N. Ravishankar

    () (School of Business Information Technology, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia)

  • Shan L. Pan

    () (Department of Information Systems, School of Computing, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117543, Republic of Singapore)

  • Dorothy E. Leidner

    () (Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University, Waco, Texas 76798)


Two important gaps exist in the information systems (IS) alignment research. First, there is scant research on the potential of organizational culture, and specifically subcultures to influence the strategic alignment of IS and organizations. Second, there is a dearth of literature that considers the relationship between alignment and implementation success. In this paper, we address both of these gaps by considering the influence of organizational subcultures on the alignment of a specific IS---a knowledge management system (KMS)---with organizational strategy. Our analysis demonstrates the important roles played by three different subcultures---enhancing, countercultural, and chameleon---in the alignment of the KMS. The analysis also underscores the complementary nature of the alignment and implementation literatures and suggests that they should be used in concert to explain the success of an IS. Drawing on our analysis, we build a subculture model, which depicts the intersection of alignment and implementation. From a managerial perspective, the subculture model highlights three different approaches to managing alignment and implementation. From a theoretical perspective, our paper highlights the need for IS alignment models to be modified, so that subunit-level analyses are incorporated. It also illustrates that organizations confront challenges of alignment and implementation simultaneously rather than sequentially.

Suggested Citation

  • M. N. Ravishankar & Shan L. Pan & Dorothy E. Leidner, 2011. "Examining the Strategic Alignment and Implementation Success of a KMS: A Subculture-Based Multilevel Analysis," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 22(1), pages 39-59, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:orisre:v:22:y:2011:i:1:p:39-59
    DOI: 10.1287/isre.1080.0214

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Meng Zhang & Guy G. Gable, 2017. "A Systematic Framework for Multilevel Theorizing in Information Systems Research," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 28(2), pages 203-224, June.
    2. Patrícia Lopes Costa & Ana Margarida Graça & Pedro Marques-Quinteiro & Catarina Marques Santos & António Caetano & Ana Margarida Passos, 2013. "Multilevel Research in the Field of Organizational Behavior," SAGE Open, , vol. 3(3), pages 21582440134, August.
    3. Jong Uk Kim & Rajiv Kishore, 2019. "Do we Fully Understand Information Systems Failure? An Exploratory Study of the Cognitive Schema of IS Professionals," Information Systems Frontiers, Springer, vol. 21(6), pages 1385-1419, December.
    4. Jose Albors-Garrigos & Jose Carlos Ramos-Carrasco & Angel Peiro-Signes, 2016. "Actional Intelligence, a Key Element for Actioning Knowledge. A Field Study Analysis," Journal of Information & Knowledge Management (JIKM), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 15(01), pages 1-20, March.
    5. Khuong Le-Nguyen & Romano Dyerson & G. Harindranath, 0. "Exploring knowledge management software implementation from a knowing-in-practice perspective," Information Systems Frontiers, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-17.
    6. Khuong Le-Nguyen & Romano Dyerson & G. Harindranath, 2018. "Exploring knowledge management software implementation from a knowing-in-practice perspective," Information Systems Frontiers, Springer, vol. 20(5), pages 1117-1133, October.


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