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Title: Social learning and multimedia innovation in a corporate environment
Author: Gallacher, David Scott
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2004
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Corporate expectations for information servicing possibilities offered by Multimedia Technologies has been high. Hopes for fast adoption, encouraged by advances in networking technology and hardware processing ability, have met with frustration. Rapid technological progress within multimedia systems development coupled with the absence of established models to guide innovation has created great uncertainty. As a result organisations have made costly mistakes when selecting technological direction and engaging innovative development. This study investigates the innovation process for multimedia within an organisation to gain insight into its operation and factors that impact on its trajectory. The isolated case study method, dominant in this study area, was abandoned. Instead, a participant observer with access to a series of linked projects including the pre-project phases was used. The case studies follow an organisation navigating complex technological choices requiring readjustment of the application of expertise and reconsideration of the technology supply model. The first case study covers the successful testing of the Bank’s network capability to evaluate its potential to handle rich multimedia applications. This is followed by involvement in the assessment of the technology group’s pilot intranet prior to its rollout to the wider organisation. The third case study sees both initiatives combined to provide a distributed Training and Communications Network for the corporation. Interdisciplinary consideration of multimedia innovation was required due to the range of social, political and economic factors that combined to impact technological decisions. The use of Actor Network theory enabled the mapping of relations between the variety of actors aligned around shared agendas for multimedia innovation. Technological convergence resulted in actors from previously disparate groups being drawn into a new relationship model. Organisational theory aided the assessment of the emerging tensions and dynamics. The revised relationship model extended across intra-organisational units, lines of responsibility and additionally interactions with external suppliers. Here the model of technology supply was reconsidered in light of the componentised standards based aspects of multimedia. During the study we are presented with evidence that social and technical factors are intertwined and require joint consideration throughout the innovation process. The pre-project phase plays a crucial role in the alignment and initiation of innovative activity an operation strongly dependent on the activities of the project leaders. Through appreciation of the process across project we are able to define areas of focus for the successful management of multimedia innovation and offer insight into how the technology department’s role has altered to meet this set of challenges.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available