Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 29 Number 4 2013 pp. 103-126

Strategic Alignment and Misalignment of Knowledge Management Systems: A Social Representation Perspective

Dulipovici, Alina and Robey, Daniel

ABSTRACT: To derive more business value from existing organizational knowledge, many organizations seek to rely on strategically aligned knowledge management systems (KMS). However, as documented in prior studies, they often underestimate the challenges about social interactions and users' perceptions in response to new information systems. Based on an interpretive case study, this paper examines the implementation of a KMS to show how social representations of four groups of users resulted in the misalignment of the KMS with the organizational strategy. The social representation lens allows us to interpret strategic alignment in terms of dynamic processes of anchoring and objectification that aid individuals and groups to make sense of KMS initiatives. The groups studied developed different cognitive views of the KMS that ultimately led to a strategic misalignment. The key implication is that social interactions within and among groups shape KMS alignment with organizational strategy, thus elucidating the nature of system use.

Key words and phrases: interpretive research, IS alignment, IS implementation, knowledge management systems, social representation