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THE INFLUENCE OF A LEARNING CULTURE ON IT INVESTMENTS

Journal of Information Technology Management

ISSN #1042-1319 A Publication of the Association of Management

THE INFLUENCE OF A LEARNING CULTURE ON IT INVESTMENTS

SHERRY RYAN

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS ryans@unt.edu

LIXUAN ZHANG

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS zhangl@unt.edu

ROBERT PAVUR

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS pavur@unt.edu

ABSTRACT

This study investigates whether organizations with a learning culture differ from other organizations in their IT in- vestment process and technology choices. Data were collected from a national sample of 200 firms. The findings show that a continuous-learning culture significantly impacts the extent to which change management and technical flexibility issues are considered in an organization’s decision process, the type of decision makers involved in the process, and the technology choices that result.

Keywords: IT investment, organizational learning, socio-technical theory, change management, KM technologies adoption, technical flexibility

INTRODUCTION

Organizational learning is an imperative for mar- ketplace success today. Researchers 0 state that “organiza- tional learning is as important as positive cash flow for an organization’s survival in today’s global market.” Varying amounts of organizational learning take place in all viable organizations, but successful “learning organizations” are characterized by a “continuous-learning culture,” that is, a culture that supports and values constant learning 0.

Learning organizations produce improved organizational results by creating, acquiring and communicating informa- tion and knowledge and changing their behavior to reflect new knowledge 0. These organizations provide learning opportunities for their employees, use learning to reach goals, and link individual performance with organizational performance 0. As a result, organizations implementing learning practices have better financial performance than those without such practices 0.

Within a continuous-learning culture there is a shared belief that learning and innovation are important

Journal of Information Technology Management Volume XVI, Number 3, 2005

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