Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Digital Genre: a Mechanism for Knowledge Sharing and Reuse in Business Clusters

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posted on 2021-11-10, 04:35 authored by Molina Barrantes, Maria Eugenia

The purpose of this study was to identify the knowledge transfer mechanisms in project bidding for two business clusters in New Zealand, and how ICT played a role in facilitating a "virtual space" for sharing and re-use of these mechanisms. Genre Systems was the theoretical framework adopted to guide this inquiry and to build on further theory. Within the context of this study, genres are the knowledge transfer mechanisms that communicate information and knowledge to members of the community, following specific social rules. The genres and the way they are being employed contribute towards explaining how knowledge is shared and reused by a community. Action research methodology was used to direct data collection and analysis, and validate how the study was carried out. The study comprised of one action research cycle, which has been divided in five stages: Diagnosis, Planning, Development, Evaluation, and Specifying Learning. Mapping the clusters' collaborative interactions during project bidding helped to identify the knowledge transfer mechanisms. This allowed the identification of an ICT solution that could improve project bidding, and identification of how this knowledge could be stored for reuse in future bids. One of the clusters decided to work together with the researcher towards the design of a new portal to address their project bidding needs. The portal took six iterations to complete and went live in November 2005. A database, several "digital genres" (since these genres exist in an electronic medium), and some procedures were created to facilitate knowledge transfer for the cluster's project bidding process. The team had the opportunity to reflect on the whole experience, identify potential features and genres to incorporate in the portal, and start thinking how they could improve the development process in future interventions. The introduction of ICT encouraged the cluster to develop digital genres that were more dynamic and flexible than the ones used before then. The main finding of the study is a five-step process to create digital genres based on the activities carried out by the team: finding reference points for the digital genre; defining the social rules for the digital genre; embedding the social rules in the template; testing the template; and legitimising the digital genre. Further findings discussed the "natural" and "induced" ways for a cluster to increase its knowledge-base. The first instance takes place during the normal practices of cluster members working together towards business opportunities over a period of time, whereas the later instance is triggered by a specific event or initiative. In this study, the decision by the cluster to introduce website and database technology to assist in managing their knowledge-base provided an opportunity to explore the role of ICT in increasing the cluster's knowledge-base. Final findings showed that a project of this nature not only has to overcome the common IT development challenges (budget, project management, user buy-in), but also those derived from working with a team of volunteer people from different organisations, such as in the case of a cluster.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Information Systems Management

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Information Management


Yoong, Pak