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THE INFLUENCE OF A LEARNING CULTURE ON IT INVESTMENTS

mental change and instituting new practices and proce- dures 0. Therefore, there is a direct association between flexible IT system and the ability of an organization to introduce new business process 0.

According to STS and organizational contin- gency theory, organizations must adapt to the environment to remain competitive and innovative 0. A learning at- mosphere can help an organization continuously improve and increase its capabilities 0. Learning organizations can reconfigure their structure and reallocate their resources 0. They constantly reflect on associations between past ac- tions and the outcomes of these actions. This, in turn, in- fluences future actions so that better alignment between the organization and the environment will occur 0. We argue that learning organizations consider technologies that can be easily integrated, thus performing well with existing systems, as well as technologies that provide agil- ity to expand or be modified. Therefore, organizations with a continuous-learning culture will be more likely to consider technical flexibility than those without such a culture so that their IT capabilities can change as required.

sess prowess on technical matters, input from the various user departments is essential. Involving end users may result in more satisfied users, but if the functional manager is not supportive of the new technology, assimilation into his or her workgroup is difficult. Including functional managers not only promotes more informed decision- making but also provides a smoother, more supported transition to the new IT. Second, organizations with a con- tinuous-learning culture place an emphasis on organiza- tion members’ knowledge and skill acquisition. There is some evidence to suggest that functional managers par- ticipate in decision-making activities for their own per- sonal development 0. Thus, we hypothesize that decision authority will be less likely to reside solely within the IT department and will be more likely to involve functional managers.

H3: There is a direct positive relationship be- tween an organization’s continuous-learning culture and involvement of functional managers in the IT investment decision.

H2: There is a direct positive relationship be- tween an organization’s continuous-learning culture and technical flexibility in the IT decision-making process.

Managerial Involvement

A major IT project is likely to influence the work

processes of employees of several departments. Prior re- search has shown the efficacy of involving end-users, es- pecially in the needs analysis of selecting new IT 0 . We, however, are investigating the types of managers involved in the IT decision process. Functional managers who are involved in IT decisions represent their department’s op- erational needs, evaluate departmental resource availabil- ity, and assess their employees’ current and future skill requirements so that they can effectively operate and as- similate the IT under consideration. Prior research has shown that involvement of functional managers is an im- portant factor for successful integration of IT in strategic

planning 0.

Level of involvement of members in an organiza- tion may depend on the type of the organization 0. We argue that organizations with a strong continuous-learning culture will be more likely to involve functional managers in IT decision-making processes for several reasons. First, organizations with a continuous-learning culture are char- acterized by their willingness to share information across departmental lines 0. Learning organizations recognize that no single department, like IT, possesses perfect knowledge. Therefore, while the IT department may pos-

Technology Choices

Argyris 0 stated that IT could facilitate organiza- tional learning by interrupting routine thinking, making information transparent and helping people reason pro- ductively. KM technologies refer to information systems used to manage organizational knowledge, such as intra- net, data warehousing and groupware products. They play an important role in supporting the creation, transfer and application of knowledge in organizations 0. Researchers suggest that organizations need to spend about a third of their time thinking about technology for knowledge man- agement 0.

edge

Despite the agreement of the benefits of knowl- management technologies, organizations with learn-

ing culture are more successful in implementing them than their counterparts. Researchers find that learning organizations are more likely to create data networks across functions. Among the learning organizations, 87% of those create regularly updated databases compared with only 7% of organizations without a learning culture 0. Organizations with a continuous-learning culture are more

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

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