The Role of IT Assets in Organizational Accumulation and Appropriation of Social Capital for Business Risk Mitigation and Inter-organizational Innovation
Simha, Anand N.
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This dissertation comprises of three essays examining the interplay of information technology with various social processes that typically inhabit the organizational space. The first essay presents the concept of a Relationship Memory System (RMS). This study uses grounded theory methodology and interview data collected at a global collections' management firm to explore the idea that social capital, being the benefits accruing from social relationships, can be appropriated by individuals other than those that participated in its creation. It examines the processes whereby social capital, created by individual members of an organization, can be accumulated into an organizational resource and rendered appropriable by other members of that organization. It examines the role of IT in enabling these processes of accumulation and appropriation of social capital and introduces the concept of RMS, a socio-technical system which combines technical capabilities with social processes within the organization to bring about these dynamics. Collective Mindfulness (CM) is a concept that has developed from research on organizations working in high risk areas, as a warrant of reliability in such situations. While CM is a collective property developed in an organizational context, it has never hitherto been examined from the social capital perspective. Using grounded theory methodology and interview data collected at a global receivables' management firm, the second essay examines the conjunction of an organization's internal social capital and its IT resources as antecedent to two specific aspects of CM, and the impact of these aspects on the firm's risk mitigation efforts vis-à-vis its marketing and operational functions. The third essay examines the relationship between trust, innovation and IT assets in inter-organizational relationships (IORs). It classifies inter-organizational IT-based assets into two types – IT-based process assets and IT-based knowledge assets – based on the purposes for which they are deployed. Based on prior literature, the study identifies two dimensions each of trust, namely competence trust and benevolent trust; and of innovation, namely incremental and radical innovation. It is posited firstly that that competence trust between the parties will correspond with the existence of IT-based process assets between them and result in outcomes representing incremental innovation; and secondly that benevolence trust between the parties will correspond with the existence of IT-based knowledge assets between them and result in outcomes representing radical innovation. The meta-analysis methodology is used to investigate this model and results indicate support for the hypotheses.