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Technology Adoption By Organizations Successful Or Not

2333 words - 10 pages

Technology Adoption: Organizational Learning What makes the adoption of technology in some firms a successful process, while others experience difficulties? Based on a retrospective case study, this paper compares the process of adopting horizontal drilling technology in two large Canadian oil companies; one a more successful and the other a less successful adopter of technology. Adoption is viewed as a process of organizational learning which proceeds in a feedback loop from observing, interpreting, integrating to acting. The two companies differed both in these processes and in the factors facilitating or impeding them: capability, resources, motivation, effort, shared values, incentives, and external triggers. The implications for researchers and managers are discussed. Technology Adoption Processes, Organizational Learning Introduction Business firms adopt new technologies -- a form of innovation (Angle and Van de Ven 1989) -- to remain competitive (Morone 1993), or to 'renew strategically' (Crossan et al. 1999). However, some firms seem to manage technology adoption successfully, while others struggle and even give up. Why this is so was the initial puzzle that prompted the study reported here. The study identified technology adoption in two firms essentially as a process of organizational learning. The success of technology adoption therefore depends on the firm's ability to learn. In other words, in order to explain success in technology adoption, sources of learning need to be understood. The explanation is elaborated in a framework that focuses both on sources of learning and on the learning processes (Dodgson 1993). The focus on the processes of learning in this paper is an important extension of the technology adoption literature which tends to be static in its analysis and to focus primarily on predictors and consequences of technology adoption (e.g. Cooper and Smud 1990; Dewar and Dutton 1986; Ettlie et al. 1984; Preece 1989). The proposed framework is derived from the literature on organizational learning and innovation, and it is validated by a comparative field study of technology adoption in two large oil firms. To integrate divergent approaches to organizational learning (e.g. Crossan et al. 1999; Dodgson 1993; Huber 1991; Kim 1993) and thereby increase the explanatory power of the framework, I considered both sources and processes of organizational learning and their interaction. Organizational Learning: The Framework for Technology Adoption Most research on technology adoption has focused either on predictors or consequences of adoption. Firm size (Dewar and Dutton 1986), production methods (Cooper and Smud 1990), and market structure (Hannan and McDowell 1990) have been found to predict technology adoption. Increased flexibility and control (Child 1987; Preece 1989) have been identified as some of the consequences of technology adoption. Organization structure appears to be both an antecedent and a consequence of technology...

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