The impact of information and communication technologies on inter-organisational routines and activities of learning networks
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This paper uses the conceptual tools of technology-in-practice and the enacted structures to examine the impact of Information and Communication Technologies on the activities of learning networks, that is inter-firm networks specifically formed to enable their members to share and increase their knowledge. The basic assumption is that the measurement of the real impact of Information and Communication Technologies on organisational forms and functions require the identification of the routines and everyday practices deployed before and after the implementation of a new system. Therefore the paper starts with identifying the interorganisational routines deployed by learning networks and discusses the implementation of a technological platform in three learning networks in Austria, France and Ireland. The emerging technologies-in-practice are identified and the way that these technologies-in-practice fail or succeed to enhance the relevant routines is analysed. A survey among the learning networks members gives further insights into the actual aspects of the network routines that were affected by the introduced technology and its situated usages. The paper argues that, in the context of a network, only the alignment of transparent with receptive technologies-in-practice instigated by different stakeholders can produce a real impact on the inter-organisational routines and structures. In fact the alignment of technologies-in-practice within the network can influence critically several repertoires of inter-organisational routines such as the communication and informal knowledge sharing routines, with critical implications for the improvement of the whole network.