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Knowledge Integration – Balancing Between Anarchy and Despotism
KTH, Stockholm, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2008 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

A central issue in knowledge integration is how to achieve and maintain an optimal trade-off between differentiation and commonalization of knowledge. Too much emphasis on either side aggravates the efficiency of integration. The purpose of this paper is to make an inquiry into the trade-off problem from a particular theoretical perspective called the Activity Domain Theory. Two constructs from this theory are employed: the activity domain and the activity modalities. The activity domain frames the social fabric around actors working towards a common target, and the activity modalities are suggested as main dimensions through which humans coordinate their actions. We will utilize these constructs in analyzing a case study from ABB, a leading supplier of high-voltage equipment all over the world. Our conclusions are two-fold. First, complete commonality enforcement clashes inevitably with activity domain internal ideology. Second, management means such as images, need to be aligned with the activity modalities in order to achieve an optimal balance between anarchy, i.e., no commonality at all, and despotism, i.e., complete commonality. Based on these results, we suggest that the Activity Domain Theory may open up previously untrodden paths for theorizing about knowledge integration

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
knowledge integration, trade-off between differentiation and commonalization, Activity Domain Theory, activity modalities, ABB
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-111352OAI: diva2:755601
R&D Management Advanced Workshop: Integrating knowledge - challenges for R&D management, Linköping, Sweden, 15-16 September 2008
Available from: 2014-10-15 Created: 2014-10-15 Last updated: 2014-10-28

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Taxén, Lars
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