Information Sharing Behaviour of Complex and Extended Organisations

  •  Bata P. P.    
  •  Norman A.    
  •  Allen D.    


The information sharing behaviours observed in extended organisations involve the use of dedicated specialised teams and groups. This study presents theoretical evidence, drawing on Activity Theory as an analytical lens, linking specialised teams in such complex and extended organisations to conditions which may lead to information sharing failures. These failures are apparent through tensions and contradictions examined in the activity system which helped in identifying failures in the formal systems and emergent behaviours to (or “intending to”) resolve them. Results from this study show that information sharing behaviours in an extended organisation are driven in part at least by the team’s need and ability to share information with members of the team (formed to) dealing with an information sharing failure resulting in an organisational problem and aimed at achieving a common shared goal in the relationship. There is an established link showing that information sharing in the setting supports and enhances the exchange of ideas and information between partners due to the complementing needs of services thus helping in reducing extension problems and, thereby, providing a coping strategy for the central organisation. Amongst the importance of information sharing in the setting is the ability to forecast uncertainties as a result of better understanding of each partner’s capabilities and strength. Complexity was observed to be a factor that triggers information sharing failure in extended relationships and dependencies. This occurs when there is no congruence between information deliveries amongst all the collaborating partners.

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