Enablers of organisational learning, knowledge management, and innovation among members of a geographically dispersed team : a grounded theory approach

  • Preethi Kesavan

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The aim of this research is to build theory about the enablers of organisational learning (OL),knowledge management (KM),and innovation among members of a geographically dispersed team working in an educational organisation. Several recent studies have been found to scientifically examine that KM is an important driving factor influencing learning and subsequently innovativeness in an organisation. Although recent studies have examined the drivers to innovation, more needs to be explored about the enablers of OL, KM, and innovation among members of a geographically dispersed team in organisations. This study addressed the aim of the research by putting forward an integrated discussion extending substantive theory as well as providing input into developing theories of innovation. The study used grounded theory as methodology. The methodological approach is based on innovation theory as a sensitising concept to simply to lay the foundation for the analysis of research data. In this study, innovation theory suggested directions in approaching empirical exploration of OL, KM, and innovation practices in geographically dispersed individuals and team members. The findings are based on the data obtained from a single private educational organisation which has offices dispersed across Singapore and across geographical boundaries in Asia. Data obtained through focus group discussions and interviews revealed about OL, KM, and innovation practices. The findings of the study support the need for integrating OL, KM, and innovation to improve organisational performance. This study provides fuller perspectives about collective relationships and networks, organisational characteristics and structures, and tacit and overt values which organises the phenomenon being studied. The researcher developed new theory which is built on the discussion of three themes capturing the essence of experience drawn from varied situations and contexts from the data. First theme illustrates social relationship and networks that facilitate OL, KM, and innovation among members of a geographically dispersed team. Second theme discusses the knowledge sharing mechanisms and activities that facilitate OL, KM, and innovation among members of a geographically dispersed team. Final theme argues the role of social cognitive schema among members of a geographically dispersed team that facilitate emergent learning, KM, and innovation. Furthermore, these themes are discussed with reference to the literatures across OL, KM, and innovation fields. This study emphasises the significance of an integrated model which illustrates about the enablers OL, KM, and innovation among members of a geographically dispersed team to improve organisational performance. The study shows that team membersā€˜ experiences are greater experiences generated by individual learning. Knowledge is distributed, active, and socially developed by the network of human relations. Innovation is perceived as implementation of new ideas, skills, and practices. Learning, KM, and innovation experiences are intimately entwined in the practice of organisational members in a geographically dispersed educational organisation. As a result, a number of implications for future research, and practicing managers and employers are suggested to share context and share identity, encourage collaboration and ad-hoc communications, collaborate through network of virtual and co-located teams, and to seek, and give feedback. The novelty lies in which the elements suggested are integrated by people in certain settings is to some extent different each time. Practices may be differentiated within organisational context on many characteristics and mechanisms that enable OL, KM, and implementation of innovation. Thus, the practical implications suggested in this study depict sufficient space for variety in each organisation. This study established the factors that facilitate the relationship between OL, KM, and innovation in an integrated construction. Henceforth, this study indicates more integrated organisational practice.
    Date of Award2017
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorTracey Dickson (Supervisor) & Craig Applegate (Supervisor)

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