The 24-Hour Knowledge Factory: Work and Organizational Redesign and Associated Challenges
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business
affiliation not provided to SSRN
April 29, 2012
The term “24-Hour Knowledge Factory” connotes a geographically dispersed team of workers in which members of the team are able to work on specific endeavors on a round-the-clock basis. There are five defining features of this form of work: (i) the same body of work is processed sequentially, and is handed from one unit to another (as opposed to working in parallel on non-overlapping sub-systems); (ii) the handover of work is characterized by very short cycle times (happens several times a day) and the frequency of handover is far greater than in traditional offshore work; (iii) the functional units of the 24-Hour Knowledge Factory operate in a peer-to-peer relationship where each functional unit audits the work of all other units (as opposed to a buyer auditing the work of a supplier); (iv) the knowledge transfer between the different work units, as well as the capture and transfer of work history between units, is effected through specialized mechanisms and a distributed human agency that called the composite personae; and (v) the constituent units of the 24-Hour Knowledge Factory feature very similar work capabilities, as opposed to the more traditional model of global teams where the distributed teams usually possess complementary work capabilities. The distributed units of the 24-Hour Knowledge Factory work on the same body of work and do very similar work – as a result the different units tend to have nearly identical capabilities. The 24-Hour Knowledge Factory is characterized by all these five factors operating concurrently on a distributed firm or a network of firms engaged in doing information work. We identify two sets of research issues surrounding this emergent phenomenon that fall within the technical paradigm and the organizational paradigm, respectively, of Information Systems.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 33
Keywords: Globally-dispersed Teams, Accelerated Systems Development, IT Productivity, Strategic Reorientation
Date posted: April 30, 2012
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