Developing and implementing a user-centred intranet organisational culture, communication and knowledge management

Thorn, Warwick
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Master of Communication Studies
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Auckland University of Technology

The research recorded in this thesis tells the story of developing and implementing a user-centred intranet in the organisation where I work in a senior management position. My management support of the process led to adopting a networked model in our organisation, and also to my embracing the role of communications management.The organisation in which I work has a high rate of change and an entrepreneurial culture which is sometimes chaotic. This challenging environment was a good testing ground for the project, which sought to explore a number of propositions affirming the value of user-centred intranets.Developing and implementing the intranet encouraged collaboration amongst staff members. The intranet became a new channel of communication, which usefully enhanced the staff's ability to share and find out what was going on, who did what and how to contact them. My interventions as a manager, which occurred in parallel with the technological development of the intranet, led to spin-off organisational improvements such as an improved collaborative reporting system, the restructuring of the organisation manual files, and the establishment of a collaboratively-focussed full monthly staff meeting. Developing and implementing a user-centred intranet was a dynamic way to effect change in the organisation and orient it towards a networked organisational model, one which is communication rich, both collaborative and participative.The project was driven by my belief that a user-centred emphasis in intranet design is necessary in today's knowledge-based global economy, where there is a high rate of change. The networked organisational model should be embraced as a flexible model catering for change by promoting organic and dynamic networking within an organisation. This environment is communication-rich and collaborative, and a user-centred intranet is a communication channel well suited to support this model.A user-centred intranet should not be seen merely as an organisational artefact, but also as the a process of developing and implementing it will open up an organisation's culture, communication, and knowledge management in a participatory way. However, the degree that this will be achieved depends on a number of factors. For instance, the leaders of an organisation need to embrace a networked organisational model, encouraging and resourcing communication management for a culture of participation and collaboration.

Intranets (Computer networks) , Design and construction , Communication Studies
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