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The Relevance of Customers as a Source of Knowledge in IT Firms

The Relevance of Customers as a Source of Knowledge in IT Firms
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Author(s): Laura Zapata Cantú (Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico) and José Luis Pineda (Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico)
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 15
Source title: Small and Medium Enterprises: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Information Resources Management Association (USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3886-0.ch065

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Abstract

The overall aim and contribution of this chapter is to identify the main sources of knowledge generation in IT-related SMEs and the organizational elements that support this process. Knowledge generation occurs through external knowledge acquisition and internal knowledge creation. The latter process is facilitated by personal motivation and the learning opportunities it offers to the organization’s employees, who play a key role as initiative and suggestion carriers. In order to evaluate the phenomenon under study, which the literature review reflects as an incipient stage, two-step exploratory research was conducted. In the first stage, eight interviews were conducted in four firms. The objective of the second phase was to validate some of the insight from the first stage, so a questionnaire designed for the research purpose was administered. The results show that knowledge in SMEs in the IT sector is generated mainly by employee self-learning, meetings and customers as an external source. These activities are strongly supported by the employees’ opportunity to learn and by organizational culture.

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