• Computer-mediated knowledge sharing and individual user differences: An exploratory study.

      Taylor, W. Andrew (2004)
      Prior research has shown that individual differences in users' cognitive style and gender can have a significant effect on their usage and perceived usefulness of management information systems. We argue that these differences may also extend to computer-mediated knowledge management systems (KMS), although previous research has not tested this empirically. Where employees are expected to use KMS for acquiring and sharing knowledge, we posit that some will gain more benefit than others, due to their innate personal characteristics, specifically gender and cognitive style. Based on a sample of 212 software developers in one large IS organization, we re-open these dormant debates about the effects of cognitive style and gender on technology usage. The paper contains four main findings. First, we present support for the proposition that cognitive style has an impact on KMS usage, although not for all components of the system. Second, that gender significantly affects KMS usage, with males being more likely to use such systems than females. Third, we find a small interaction effect between cognitive style and gender, but only for the use of data mining. Finally, the data suggest that there is a strong association between KMS usage levels and perceived usefulness. We conclude that if organizations do not recognize the inherent diversity of the workforce, and accommodate gender and cognitive style differences into their knowledge management strategies, they may be likely to propagate an intrinsic disadvantage, to the detriment of females and intuitive thinkers.