IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The Assimilation of Software Process Innovations: An Organizational Learning Perspective

Listed author(s):
  • Robert G. Fichman

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

  • Chris F. Kemerer

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

Registered author(s):

    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.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

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

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:43:y:1997:i:10:p:1345-1363
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA

    Phone: +1-443-757-3500
    Fax: 443-757-3515
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:43:y:1997:i:10:p:1345-1363. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.