Knowledge Management Technology as a Stage for Strategic Self-Presentation: Implications for Knowledge Sharing in Organizations
Information and Organization, Vol. 22, Issue 1, pp. 37-59, 2012
50 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2012 Last revised: 25 Jun 2014
Date Written: 2012
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 should be viewed both as stages upon which motivated individuals enact performances of expertise, and as containers that provide visible, communal displays of the expertise of organizational members. 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.
Keywords: knowledge management, visibility, information technology, social construction, expertise, self-presentation, deception
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