Knowledge management technology as a stage for strategic self-presentation: Implications for knowledge sharing in organizations

Paul M. Leonardi*, Jeffrey W. Treem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article explores why it is often difficult for organizations to capture, store, and share employees' individually held expertise. Drawing on studies of the social construction of expertise and theories of transactive memory systems and self-presentation in computer-mediated environments, we argue that knowledge management technologies are not simple containers for the storage of expertise, but that they are stages upon which individuals enact performances of expertise. Through a longitudinal study of the work of IT technicians we show that users of a knowledge management technology strategically craft their own information entries to position themselves as experts vis-à-vis their coworkers. The data suggest that proactive self-presentations enacted by a few actors early on may spur reactive behaviors of strategic self-presentation across the organization. We explore implications of these findings for theories of transactive memory systems and technology use in organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-59
Number of pages23
JournalInformation and Organization
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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