Technologies in Information Systems

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  1. Emerging Topics and Technologies in Information Systems Miltiadis D. Lytras Universisty of Patras, Greece Patricia Ordóñez de Pablos Universidad de Olviedo, Spain InformatIon scIence reference Hershey • New York
  2. Director of Editorial Content: Kristin Klinger Managing Editor: Jamie Snavely Assistant Managing Editor: Carole Coulson Typesetter: Larissa Vinci Cover Design: Lisa Tosheff Printed at: Yurchak Printing Inc. Published in the United States of America by Information Science Reference (an imprint of IGI Global) 701 E. Chocolate Avenue, Suite 200 Hershey PA 17033 Tel: 717-533-8845 Fax: 717-533-8661 E-mail: cust@igi-global.com Web site: http://www.igi-global.com and in the United Kingdom by Information Science Reference (an imprint of IGI Global) 3 Henrietta Street Covent Garden London WC2E 8LU Tel: 44 20 7240 0856 Fax: 44 20 7379 0609 Web site: http://www.eurospanbookstore.com Copyright © 2009 by IGI Global. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or distributed in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, without written permission from the publisher. Product or company names used in this set are for identi.cation purposes only . Inclusion of the names of the products or companies does not indicate a claim of ownership by IGI Global of the trademark or registered trademark. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Emerging topics and technologies in information sytems / Miltiadis D. Lytras and Patricia Ordonez de Pablos, editors. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Summary: "This book communicates the various challenges and great opportunities that information systems research produces"--Provided by publisher. ISBN 978-1-60566-222-0 (hardcover) -- ISBN 978-1-60566-223-7 (ebook) 1. Management information systems. 2. Information technology--Technological innovations. 3. Information resources management. I. Lytras, Miltiadis D., 1973- II. Pablos, Patricia Ordonez de. HD30.213.E44 2009 658.4'038011--dc22 2008033933 British Cataloguing in Publication Data A Cataloguing in Publication record for this book is available from the British Library. All work contributed to this book is original material. The views expressed in this book are those of the authors, but not necessarily of the publisher. If a library purchased a print copy of this publication, please go to http://www.igi-global.com/agreement for information on activating the library's complimentary electronic access to this publication.
  3. To Elvira and Joaquín, my parents - Patricia
  4. Table of Contents Preface ................................................................................................................................................ xiv Chapter I Measuring and Reporting Technological Capital in Companies ............................................................ 1 Patricia Ordóñez de Pablos, University of Oviedo, Spain Miltiadis D. Lytras, Universisty of Patras, Greece Chapter II Revisiting Agility to Conceptualize Information Systems Agility ....................................................... 19 Pankaj, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA Micki Hyde, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA Arkalgud Ramaprasad, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA Suresh K. Tadisina, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, USA Chapter III Global Understanding Environment: Applying Semantic and Agent Technologies to Industrial Automation ........................................................................................................................... 55 Vagan Terziyan, University of Jyväskylä, Finland Artem Katasonov, University of Jyväskylä, Finland Chapter IV Targeting E-Commerce to Chinese Audiences and Markets: Managing Cultural and Regional Challenges ............................................................................................................................................. 88 Jeff Hsu, Fairleigh Dickinson University, USA Chapter V Enterprise Resource Planning System: Issues and Implementation ................................................... 102 Edward T. Chen, University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA Chapter VI A Secure Characteristics of Wireless Ad-Hoc Networks .................................................................... 115 Sandip Vijay, I.I.T. Roorkee, India S. C. Sharma, I.I.T. Roorkee, India
  5. Chapter VII A Survey on Approaches to Adaptation on the Web ........................................................................... 136 Jorge Marx Gómez, Oldenburg University, Germany Thanh Tran, Oldenburg University, Germany Chapter VIII A Personalized Portal on the Basis of Semantic Models and Rules ................................................... 153 Jorge Marx Gómez, Oldenburg University, Germany Tran Duc, Karlsruhe University, Germany Chapter IX British Consumers’ Attitudes and Acceptance of Mobile Advertising ............................................... 165 Sylvie Laforet, University of Shef›eld, UK Hannah Limahelu, University of Shef›eld, UK Chapter X Determinants of ERP Implementations: An Empirical Study in Spanish Companies ........................ 180 Javier de Andrés, University of Oviedo, Spain Pedro Lorca, University of Oviedo, Spain Jose Emilio Labra, University of Oviedo, Spain Chapter XI Emerging Topics and Technologies in Information Systems .............................................................. 198 Jaakko Ikävalko, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland Seppo J. Hänninen, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland Ari Serkkola, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland Ilkka Kauranen, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland Chapter XII Technology-Related Privacy Concerns: An Emerging Challenge ...................................................... 208 Cliona McParland, Dublin City University, Ireland Regina Connolly, Dublin City University, Ireland Chapter XIII Fear of Flying and Virtual Environments: An Introductory Review .................................................. 221 Giovanni Vincenti, S.r.l, Italy Chapter XIV A Context-Based Approach for Supporting Knowledge Work with Semantic Portals ....................... 231 Thomas Hädrich, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany Torsten Priebe, University of Regensburg, Germany
  6. Chapter XV A Survey of Web Service Discovery Systems .................................................................................... 254 Duy Ngan Le, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Angela Goh, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Cao Hoang Tru, Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, Viet Nam Chapter XVI User Relevance Feedback in Semantic Information Retrieval ........................................................... 270 Antonio Picariello, Università di Napoli Federico II, Italy Antonio M. Rinaldi, Università di Napoli Federico II, Italy Chapter XVII A Preliminary Study toward Wireless Integration of Patient Information System ............................. 282 Abdul-Rahman Al-Ali, American University of Sharjah, UAE Tarik Ozkul, American University of Sharjah, UAE Taha Landolsi, American University of Sharjah, UAE Compilation of References ............................................................................................................... 297 About the Contributors .................................................................................................................... 325 Index ................................................................................................................................................... 331
  7. Detailed Table of Contents Preface ................................................................................................................................................ xiv Chapter I Measuring and Reporting Technological Capital in Companies ............................................................ 1 Patricia Ordóñez de Pablos, University of Oviedo, Spain Miltiadis D. Lytras, Universisty of Patras, Greece The chapter addresses the importance of knowledge-based resources proposing indicators to measure and report technological capital in companies. The first part of the chapter develops a conceptual framework to analyze organizational learning and its outcomes. It focuses on the strategy perspective of organiza- tional learning, addressing its ontology, contributions, and problematics. The second part is focused on a particular type of knowledge—the technological capital—that is institutionalized knowledge in the form of technologies. This section proposes a map for the different types of technological capital of companies: idiosyncratic, core, ancillary, and compulsory. The chapter shows the results of a case study with European firms measuring and reporting technological capital. Finally the chapter summarizes main conclusions for management. Chapter II Revisiting Agility to Conceptualize Information Systems Agility ....................................................... 19 Pankaj, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA Micki Hyde, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA Arkalgud Ramaprasad, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA Suresh K. Tadisina, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, USA There is no systematic study of Information Systems (IS) agility in academic and practitioner IS lit- erature and the concept is not well defined. For rigorous academic studies of IS agility, a proper defi- nition/conceptualization of IS agility is needed. To fulfill this objective, existing published work on agility is analyzed. The analysis demonstrates that the existing definitions may need improvement to aid in arriving at a definition of IS agility. A new definition of agility that captures its core properties is proposed. The advantages of this definition over existing definitions is demonstrated and it is used to define IS Agility. Salient features of an agile IS are discussed and the utility of the proposed definition in arriving at attributes of an agile IS is demonstrated. Efficacy and validity of the proposed definition is demonstrated through interviews with IS executives from a diverse set organization. Lastly, avenues for future research are proposed.
  8. Chapter III Global Understanding Environment: Applying Semantic and Agent Technologies to Industrial Automation ........................................................................................................................... 55 Vagan Terziyan, University of Jyväskylä, Finland Artem Katasonov, University of Jyväskylä, Finland Industry pushes a new type of Internet characterized as the Internet of Things, which represents a fu- sion of the physical and digital worlds. The technology of the Internet of Things opens new horizons for industrial automation, that is, automated monitoring, control, maintenance planning, and so forth, of industrial resources and processes. Internet of Things definitely needs explicit semantics, even more than the traditional Web – for automatic discovery and interoperability among heterogeneous devices and also to facilitate the behavioral coordination of the components of complex physical-digital systems. In this chapter, the authors describe their work towards the Global Understanding Environment (GUN), a general middleware framework aimed at providing means for building complex industrial systems consisting of components of different nature, based on the semantic and the agent technologies. The authors present the general idea and some emergent issues of GUN and describe the current state of the GUN realization in the UBIWARE platform. As a specific concrete case, they use the domain of distributed power network maintenance. In collaboration with the ABB Company, we have developed a simple prototype and vision of potential add-value this domain could receive from introducing semantic and agent technologies, and GUN framework in particular. Chapter IV Targeting E-Commerce to Chinese Audiences and Markets: Managing Cultural and Regional Challenges ............................................................................................................................................. 88 Jeff Hsu, Fairleigh Dickinson University, USA The market for e-commerce to Chinese audiences is one which has tremendous potential, given the fact that the number of potential users and customers is projected to exceed that of English-speaking Western users. However, managing the host of cultural issues that come up is an important need which must be met. This chapter examines the cultural issues which are relevant to sites targeted at China and Chinese-speaking audiences, including user and consumer behavior patterns, categorizing China using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, examining traditional and historical attitudes, and addressing business issues including trust, payment, and infrastructure challenges. In the chapter design principles based on these are proposed, as well as an examination of the differences between the cultures of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Chapter V Enterprise Resource Planning System: Issues and Implementation ................................................... 102 Edward T. Chen, University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is the method of trying to unify all processes within an organization into one software system or database. Enterprise Resource Planning Projects should not be entered into
  9. lightly. Not only are ERP projects a new software program to learn, but they are a new way of thinking. This chapter provides a brief history of ERP; follows by the advantages and disadvantages of ERP for organizations considering the adoption of ERP. The next section introduces various strategies of ERP implementation with a list of ERP software vendors. ERP is a long-term IT investment. The total cost of ownership is analyzed and discussed with several cases of ERP implementation. Chapter VI A Secure Characteristics of Wireless Ad-Hoc Networks .................................................................... 115 Sandip Vijay, I.I.T. Roorkee, India S. C. Sharma, I.I.T. Roorkee, India This chapter reviews the secure characteristics of mobile devices that can use wireless networks (ad- hoc) almost any where and any time, by using one or more wireless network technologies. Currently, most computers communicate with each other by using wired networks. This approach is well suited for stationary computers, but it is not appropriate for mobile devices. These technologies enable the use of infrastructured networks (3GPP) and ad-hoc networks. Furthermore, the authors describe the gateway specification, requirement for implementation for ad-hoc networks. The minimum, essential, and additional functional requirements for effective functionality of gateway are presented in tabular form. At the end, the future functional requirement and the features of multiple ad-hoc networks are also described. Chapter VII A Survey on Approaches to Adaptation on the Web ........................................................................... 136 Jorge Marx Gómez, Oldenburg University, Germany Thanh Tran, Oldenburg University, Germany Approaches to adaptation have been proposed by many different research communities, Hypermedia System and Intelligent Tutoring in particular. The task of adaptation breaks down to a mediation of resource provision and resource demand. In doing so, it is necessary to obtain some representation of them, either directly or through intermediate models that can be further processed to arrive at this information. Correspondingly, major differences in adaptation approaches manifest themselves in the employed sources, the way they are represented and the techniques used to derive the user demand from them. Therefore, we like to structure this survey according to these model-related aspects. Chapter VIII A Personalized Portal on the Basis of Semantic Models and Rules ................................................... 153 Jorge Marx Gómez, Oldenburg University, Germany Tran Duc, Karlsruhe University, Germany A portal is a Web-based single point of access that delivers information and applications to a user on its own and by the integration of external services. With most portals, various users in the role of customer, supplier, employee, and so forth, can configure the available content and the functionalities in their own way and access them over multitude of devices – mobile phone, PDA, and PC to name a few (Priebe; Pernul, 2003). Whereas this type of portal can be seen as an adaptable system, adaptive portals shall adapt themselves to the individual user.
  10. Chapter IX British Consumers’ Attitudes and Acceptance of Mobile Advertising ............................................... 165 Sylvie Laforet, University of Shef›eld, UK Hannah Limahelu, University of Shef›eld, UK This wireless advertising is considered to be an important alternative advertising medium in the future, due to its numerous advantages over traditional media. However, little research has been conducted on consumer acceptance of this medium in particular, in the United Kingdom. This study explores consumers’ attitudes towards and acceptance of mobile advertising, using focus group interviews. Results indicate that British consumers generally do not accept mobile advertising. Although mobile adverts are seen as interesting, eye catching, and motivating consumers to browse. Consumers who accept the technology do not see the need to have adverts on their mobiles. Those who dislike this medium are comfortable with using the Internet through their PCs as they do not see the benefits of mobile advertising, due to its small screen and speed limitation. Managerial considerations are also discussed. Chapter X Determinants of ERP Implementations: An Empirical Study in Spanish Companies ........................ 180 Javier de Andrés, University of Oviedo, Spain Pedro Lorca, University of Oviedo, Spain Jose Emilio Labra, University of Oviedo, Spain This chapter aims to determine the factors influencing the decision of implementing an ERP system in a country where technology awareness and the technological development are not as high as those of some others. Firstly, the authors assume that adopters make rational choices but the authors also introduce an alternative innovation model based on the imitation perspective. A questionnaire was sent to the Spanish listed companies and the ERP; adopting firms were compared with a matched control group. The main results indicate that the only factors stemming from the rational-choice perspective, whose influence is relevant, are firm size and the ROI ratio. Also, the authprs found that the introduction of the euro and the Y2K issue had an influence in the ERP decision. The influence of the sectoral adscription was supported partially. These findings evidence a certain influence of the imitation effect. The results of this chapter could eventually be extrapolated to the countries whose national culture is similar to that of Spain. Chapter XI Emerging Topics and Technologies in Information Systems .............................................................. 198 Jaakko Ikävalko, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland Seppo J. Hänninen, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland Ari Serkkola, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland Ilkka Kauranen, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland Technology programs are a means to facilitate the development and commercialization process of new innovative technologies. They are forums for the exchange of information and for networking between companies and research institutes. The programs provide opportunities and financial support to carry out ambitious research and development projects and to build business expertise. The core of technol-
  11. ogy programs are joint research projects between companies and research institutes. The objective of the study is to increase understanding of how such joint research projects within technology programs evolve in practice. The emphasis is on identifying factors that enhance the commercialization of new technologies and on finding barriers of commercialization. Based on the findings, practical recommen- dations are given on how the concept of technology programs can be further developed to utilize the unused potential in such programs. Chapter XII Technology-Related Privacy Concerns: An Emerging Challenge ...................................................... 208 Cliona McParland, Dublin City University, Ireland Regina Connolly, Dublin City University, Ireland While Internet-based technologies have the potential to empower users immensely, individuals are be- coming increasingly aware of the ways in which those technologies can be employed to monitor their computer-based interactions. In the past, much attention has focused on the impact of technology-related privacy concerns from a transactional perspective. However, privacy concerns regarding communication monitoring are now emerging as a significant issue with the potential to negatively impact both produc- tivity and morale within the computer-mediated work environment. This chapter outlines the evolution of technology-related privacy concerns. The lack of definitional consensus and the resulting conceptual and operational confusion that surrounds the privacy construct is described. Furthermore, the significant deficit of rigorous academic studies on this topic is highlighted. The current state of privacy legislation in Europe is addressed and some of the key challenges that face researchers who may wish to conduct research on this phenomenon are outlined. Chapter XIII Fear of Flying and Virtual Environments: An Introductory Review .................................................. 221 Giovanni Vincenti, S.r.l, Italy Fear of flying is a common problem that many people have to face. As varied as the causes may be, all kinds of fears have many aspects in common. Much is known to us about fear, and the fields of psy- chology and psychiatry teach us that many times we can conquer fears simply by exposing the subject to the dreaded object. Human-Computer Interaction has branched even in this direction, including the treatment of phobias. With the help of Virtual Reality researchers around the world have recreated using a computer the way that psychologists and psychiatrists cure fears, adding a twist. Many times patients are supposed to go the extra mile and expose themselves, little by little, to what they are afraid of. Virtual Reality brings this type of exposure directly to the patient, with the comfort that such fear can be stopped at any time, since it is only a computer simulation. The most successful studies have been performed on arachnophobia, or the fear of spiders. There are also studies that deal with the fear of heights and the fear of public speaking. Some studies have also been performed on addressing the fear of flying using a virtual environment. This work is a review of such methods, and an explanation of the principles behind the motivation for these studies.
  12. Chapter XIV A Context-Based Approach for Supporting Knowledge Work with Semantic Portals ....................... 231 Thomas Hädrich, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany Torsten Priebe, University of Regensburg, Germany Knowledge work can be characterized by a high degree of variety and exceptions, strong communication needs, weakly structured processes, networks and communities, and as requiring a high level of skill and expertise as well as a number of specific practices. Process-oriented knowledge management suggests to focus on enhancing efficiency of knowledge work in the context of business processes. Portals are an enabling technology for knowledge management by providing users with a consolidated, personal- ized interface that allows accessing various types of structured and unstructured information. However, the design of portals still needs concepts and frameworks to guide their alignment with the context of persons consigned with knowledge-intensive tasks. In this context the concept of knowledge stance is a promising starting point. This paper discusses how knowledge stances can be applied and detailed to model knowledge work and support to support it with semantic context-based portals. We present the results from implementing a portal prototype that deploys Semantic Web technologies to integrate vari- ous information sources and applications on a semantic level and discuss extensions to this portal for the support of knowledge stances. Chapter XV A Survey of Web Service Discovery Systems .................................................................................... 254 Duy Ngan Le, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Angela Goh, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Cao Hoang Tru, Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, Viet Nam Web services form the core of e-business and hence, have experienced a rapid development in the past few years. This has led to a demand for a discovery mechanism for web services. Discovery is the most important task in the web service model because web services are useless if they cannot be discovered. A large number of web service discovery systems have been developed. Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) is a typical mechanism that stores indexes to web services but it does not sup- port semantics. Semantic web service discovery systems that have been developed include systems that support matching web services using the same ontology, systems that support matching web services using different ontologies, and systems that support limitations of UDDI. This paper presents a survey of web service discovery systems, focusing on systems that support semantics. The paper also elaborates on open issues relating to such discovery systems. Chapter XVI User Relevance Feedback in Semantic Information Retrieval ........................................................... 270 Antonio Picariello, Università di Napoli Federico II, Italy Antonio M. Rinaldi, Università di Napoli Federico II, Italy The user dimension is a crucial component in the information retrieval process and for this reason it must be taken into account in planning and technique implementation in information retrieval systems. In this paper we present a technique based on relevance feedback to improve the accuracy in an ontol-
  13. ogy based information retrieval system. Our proposed method combines the semantic information in a general knowledge base with statistical information using relevance feedback. Several experiments and results are presented using a test set constituted of Web pages. Chapter XVII A Preliminary Study toward Wireless Integration of Patient Information System ............................. 282 Abdul-Rahman Al-Ali, American University of Sharjah, UAE Tarik Ozkul, American University of Sharjah, UAE Taha Landolsi, American University of Sharjah, UAE This paper presents the results of a study toward generating a wireless environment to provide real-time mobile accessibility to patient information system. A trial system is set up where database, internet, and wireless personal digital assistants (PDAs) are integrated in such a way that the medical professionals like physicians, nurses and lab assistants can create, access and update medical records using wireless PDAs from any location in the hospital which is covered by wireless LAN. The same services which can be carried out via fixed terminals with internet connectivity can be carried out using wireless PDAs. The implementation has used and integrated many technologies like Active Server Pages (ASP), Visual Basic®, Structured Query Language (SQL) Server, ActiveSync®, IEEE802.11 Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) technology and wireless security concepts. The paper details the architectural aspects of technology integration and the methodology used for setting up the end-to-end system. The proposed architecture, its performance data and the common implementation barriers are reported. Compilation of References ............................................................................................................... 297 About the Contributors .................................................................................................................... 325 Index ................................................................................................................................................... 331
  14. xiv Preface In a world were traditional business practices are reconsidered, economic activity is performed in a global context, new areas of economic development are recognized as the key enablers of wealth and income production, and the quest for collaboration and exploitation of synergies is recognized as an In- formation Technologies Primer, this book brings together academics, researchers, entrepreneurs, policy makers, and government officers aiming to contribute to the debate on emerging topics and technologies in information systems. In the context of the knowledge society, the focus of research in this area has been set on applications of technologies for user-centered learning, building on the concept of human learning and on sound pedagogical principles, with the key objectives to be: • To increase the efficiency of learning for individuals and groups. • To facilitate transfer and sharing of knowledge in organisations. • To contribute to a deeper understanding of the learning process by exploring links between human learning, cognition, and technologies. • To promote humanistic visions for a better world based on open learning for all. Technology enhanced learning is the best term to describe the domain of knowledge society technolo- gies as applied in the learning context: “Learning for anyone, at any time, at any place”. With the shift towards the knowledge society, the change of working conditions and the high-speed evolution of infor- mation and communication technologies, peoples’ knowledge and skills need continuous updating. The book “Emerging Topics and Technologies in Information Systems” aims to become the refer- ence edition for all those interested in knowing the current state of the art in technologies and trends in information systems field. The special feature of this book is that it goes beyond the verbalism of wishful thinking and applies modern approaches through emerging technologies like knowledge portals, push/pull technologies, Web 2.0, Semantic Web, adaptive and personalized technologies, metadata and content standards, free and open source software, ubiquitous and pervasive technologies, intelligent agents, content/knowledge management systems and grid technologies, among others.
  15. xv From the other hand, all the state-of-the-art themes are categorized and for the full list we develop strategies supported by emerging technologies. An important feature of the book we would like to high- light is the focus on real cases. For every strategy, supported by a key theoretical issue and a combination of technologies, the discussion is made in an organizational context. Real-world cases are used to show how theory supports practice and vice versa. Additionally we also include further readings of a complimentary nature to the contents of the rest of our publication. As an added value to our readers, the further readings are to provide additional related data in support of the book’s comprehensive concepts, principles, and results, as well as studies that build upon the appeal of this publication as a one-stop reference source.
  16.  Chapter I Measuring and Reporting Technological Capital in Companies Patricia Ordóñez de Pablos University of Oviedo, Spain Miltiadis D. Lytras University of Patras, Greece Abstr Act The chapter addresses the importance of knowledge-based resources proposing indicators to measure and report technological capital in companies. The ›rst part of the chapter develops a conceptual framework to analyze organizational learning and its outcomes. It focuses on the strategy perspective of organizational learning, addressing its ontology, contributions, and problematics. The second part is focused on a particular type of knowledge—the technological capital—that is institutionalized knowl- edge in the form of technologies. This section proposes a map for the different types of technological capital of companies: idiosyncratic, core, ancillary, and compulsory. The chapter shows the results of a case study with European ›rms measuring and reporting technological capital. Finally the chapter summarizes main conclusions for management. Copyright © 2009, IGI Global, distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
  17. Measuring and Reporting Technological Capital in Companies INtr ODUct ION sustainable competitive advantage. This view of the firm studies the way to employ and combine Companies are aware that knowledge is their most strategic organizational resources so that the com- valuable and strategic resource in the present petitive advantage becomes sustainable as well business environment. Managers know they have as the nature of income-generating resources and to manage the process of learning and measure the origins of heterogeneity. Later we will move its outcomes, knowledge-based organizational to the literature on Organizational Learning to resources, if they want to be competitive. However, tackle key issues arising out of the discipline today, most of the companies neither have knowledge such as how to transform knowledge at individual management models nor measurement tools to level into knowledge at organizational level as a help them manage better their learning outcomes, result of the learning process in the firm. like skills, knowledge, expertise and compe- tences. It is therefore important that they know r esource b ased View of the Firm how international pioneer learning organizations have managed and measured their organizational Introduction knowledge. This chapters is structured into four sections. This section analyses the main strategic implica- The first section proposes a conceptual frame- tions from the Resource Based View of the firm. work to analyze organizational learning and its This theory explains how and why companies outcomes, such as knowledge at individual, group, reach a sustainable competitive advantage and organizational and interorganizational level, are able to maintain it. The underlying idea is respectively. The second section is focused on to consider the company as a cumulus of unique knowledge embedded in organizational structures resources of different nature, and so move away and processes: the structural capital. It studies the from the traditional business perspective to different forms of organizational structural capital analyze the companies according to their market of companies: idiosyncratic, core, ancillary and activities (Barney, 1991, 2001; Grant, 1991, 1997; compulsory. Section three shows the results of a Hamel and Prahalad, 1994; Penrose, 1959; Peteraf, case study done in pioneer learning organizations 1993; Teece, 1980, 1982; Wernerfelt, 1984). in Europe regarding knowledge measuring and reporting. It analyzes the main indicators used The Competitive Advantage in the for quantifying the knowledge embedded in the Company firm. Finally, the last section shows the main results and implications for the management of It is necessary to own, identify and exploit stra- knowledge drawn from this paper. tegic resources to be able to develop a strategy that makes competition possible on the basis of these resources. Companies are therefore very t HE LEAr NING Pr Oc Ess IN t HE interested in identifying, getting to know and c OMPANY analyzing their resources and abilities to find out which of them are superior or different. They can Introduction carry out a unique activity or an activity that is superior to the one of their competitors and at the The Resource Based View of the Firm (RBV) will same time achieve better results (Barney, 1991). help us to explain how important knowledge-based Strategic resources can be studied from two intangible resources are to reach and maintain a perspectives: the first one points out that organi- 
  18. Measuring and Reporting Technological Capital in Companies zational knowledge drawn from the coordination position of the more profitable companies of different skills and individual and specific by already existing competitors or potential resources are essential for the development of a rivals. These limits prevent the imitation of strategy that can achieve a sustainable competitive a company’s competitive advantage. Over- advantage (Amit and Schoemaker, 1993; Grant, coming the limits would make the imitators 1991; Reed and DeFillippi, 1990). The second pay such a high price that no profit would perspective confirms the idea that the internally be made in such an attempt. accumulated resources represent the strategic base 3. Heterogeneity: according to the resource for the development of a sustainable competitive and capability theory, performance dif- advantage. In the process of resource gathering we ferences between companies in the same can identify the following relevant characteristics: sector were caused by different efficiency diseconomies when it comes to understanding levels achieved through the heterogeneous the necessary time for its development, derived resources of the companies. Companies economies on the level of available resources and that have a better combination of resources causal ambiguity. This perspective sees resources and capabilities than others will also obtain simply as stocks whereas the first perspective at- much better results. tributes a more dynamic and developmental nature 4. Imperfect mobility: i.e. resources cannot to the resources (Dierickx and Cool, 1989). be bought or sold because there is either From the resources’ perspective, the conditions no clear definition of the property rights or that bring about the competitive advantage are they have a very high specific character that as follows: heterogeneity of resources, imperfect makes it impossible to exploit them outside resource mobility, ex ante and ex post limits on the the firm. competition (Peteraf, 1993). These four conditions are not independent but related to each other. Out The way to reach this competitive advantage of these four, the heterogeneity is the most essential in the long term is a management process with condition and at the same time indispensable for the following phases: the competitive advantage. • to identify strategically relevant resources 1. Ex ante limits on the competition: these • to select those that are important for future limits allow the firm to have a dominant market needs position over a resource even before rival • to measure these intangible resources, es- companies start competing for it. The pecially knowledge-based resources control over a scarce and valuable resource • to implement programs that allow the devel- only leads to financial income when the opment, extension, protection, storage and competitors were unable to recognize its ex renewal of these resources ante value or cannot exploit it in a profitable way because they do not have the necessary Organizational Learning and Isolating additional resources. Mechanisms 2. Ex post limits on the competition: The firm should have resources that permit achieving Now the question how can we maintain this and maintaining a competitive advantage in competitive advantage in the long run? arises. the long term. The ex post limits on the com- In other words, how can the company keep its petition delay, increase the price of or pre- competitive advantage free from damage through vent imitation or excelling the competitive its competitors on the market? 
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