Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 13 Number 2 1996 pp. 115-136

Organizational Learning during Advanced System Development: Opportunities and Obstacles

Stein, Eric W and Vandenbosch, Betty

ABSTRACT: Higher-order organizational learning occurs when a company adopts new principles, assumptions, and paradigms, which often turn into competitive advantage. Systems development and implementation offer an opportunity for higher-order organizational learning that is rarely exploited. Advanced information systems, in particular expert systems (ES) and executive information systems (EIS), provide ample opportunities for higher-order organizational learning if the development process is structured in certain ways. This work includes an analysis of three organizations in terms of project outcomes, organizational learning outcomes, and organizational performance. On the basis of these assessments, five critical success factors are identified that may contribute to organizational learning during advanced system development. The relationships between these factors and organizational outcomes are summarized in a preliminary model that can form the basis for future research. The work closes with some recommendations for ways information systems managers can encourage higher-order organizational learning during advanced system development.

Key words and phrases: advanced information systems, executive support systems, expert systems, information systems development, organizational learning, sociotechnical design