Business Intelligence

Talk, Think, Read (If Absolutely Necessary): The Impact Of Social, Personal, And Documentary Knowledge On Task Performance

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Executive Summary

The organizational memory literature has compared social sources to documentary archives as potential sources of knowledge that decision makers can use when they seek information needed to carry out business activities, but has not considered how an individual's personal stock of relevant knowledge will shape the benefits of such organizational sources of knowledge. This study considers how social interaction, access to documents, and personal knowledge directly and jointly contribute to individual task performance. A multi-stage laboratory experiment finds that task performance increases most when decision makers can talk with colleagues and then from drawing on their own personal knowledge, while books offer benefits only if people lack colleagues and/or personal knowledge.

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