Knowledge Renewal and Knowledge Creation in Export Trading
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This thesis examines how tacit knowledge about export trading is tapped and collectively used in a web portal by a community of practice. Working with a design for application software, such as a web portal, requires an understanding of the application software domain. This research focuses on an export trading knowledge portal for use by an export trading community. The community comprises members involved in export activities. The research adopts three theories useful in the design of the portal. First, theory of domain analysis specifies an application software knowledge domain and explores the thoughts and discourse of the user community. Second, activity theory is used to understand the inherent knowledge in human interactions and the resultant human activity system in relation to the portal use. Third, the theory of organisational knowledge creation is used to explore how knowledge conversion processes take place in the human interactions in the portal. The knowledge captured and collectively used in the portal is beneficial to members for their work purposes. It is argued that tacit export knowledge is exchanged through human interactions. Thus, it is critical to understand what tacit knowledge can be captured and managed in the portal and how this can be done. It is argued that effectively managed knowledge can help members and their organisation to achieve export success. This research is important, as export creates revenues and stimulates economic growth in both the exporting firms and the exporting country. It is particularly important for members involved in export activities who make use of the captured tacit knowledge at work. The principal research questions of this thesis are: what constitutes export knowledge, and how does portal technology help members use and exchange knowledge? From these main questions, the sub-questions are: (1) what portal features can help export trading members interact; (2) what portal features can help export trading members seek and use important useful resources; and (3) how can members’ previous version of knowledge be renewed and new knowledge created when the collective knowledge in the portal is used?
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Griffith Business School
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