Stephen Burgess, Victoria University Australia Australia
AustraliaDon Schauder, Monash University
How should a small business decide whether and in what ways to use Web technology for interactions with customers? This case describes the creation of a practical decision support tool (using a spreadsheet) for the initiation and development of small business Web sites.
Decisions arise from both explicit and tacit knowledge. Using selected literature from a structuration theory, information management and knowledge management, decision support tools are characterized as knowledge documents (communication agents for explicit knowledge). Understanding decision support tools as knowledge documents sheds light on their potentialities and limitations for knowledge transfer, and assists in maximizing their potentialities.
The case study deploys three levels of modeling: a high-level structuration model of the interplay between information management and knowledge management, a conceptual model of small-business decision-making, and an applied model – the practical decision support tool, itself.
An action-research methodology involving experts and stakeholders validated the development of conceptual categories and their instantiation in the practical tool.