Effective assimilation of technological innovation in an organization characterized ?as a Complex Adaptive System

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Alon E. Hagsall
Niv Ahituv
Nili Naveh


Purpose: Most organizations seek for innovative solutions to address tabulate changes and competition. However, each organization is required for rapid and effective processes of assimilating technological innovation into its operational activities. Consistent with previous studies, the aim of this study was to understand whether an organization characterized as CAS (Complex Adaptive System) could positively affect the process of assimilating technological innovation through supporting the development of knowledge workers. Such workers deal mostly with changes. Hence, they possess the ability to combine personal benefits with organizational goals, they are sensible to changes in the environment, they understand the integration of information required for such a process, and they need the ability to socialize among themselves.

Design/methodology/approach: A sample of 300 employees in organizations of different sectors responded to an online questionnaire, which examined their attitude towards technological innovation in correlation with the level of organization's CAS characteristics. Pearson and regression analyses were used to examine the relationships between the functioning of the workers as CAS fractals[1] and their attitudes toward the process of assimilation of technological innovation.

Findings: Workers who function as “fractals”, namely as knowledge-worker in organizations having the characteristics of CAS, were able to combine personal benefits with organizational goals. They had sensitivity to changes in the environment, integration of the information required for the process and the ability to socialize among themselves. These abilities of knowledge workers have significantly influenced the development of positive attitudes towards the process of assimilation of technological innovation, a better understanding of the technology and the advantages they gain from it, which make them ready to be involved in the process.

Practical implications: The practical contribution of this study is the ability to best portray the characteristics of an optimal work environment in an organization that wishes to undergo assimilation processes, technological innovation, management and dissemination of relevant knowledge for the organization's use. Such an organization is required to provide its employees with a degree of operational autonomy enabling them to interweave  personal interests and organizational goals, and to be involved and to influence the processes of assimilating technological innovation in the organization. The organization should also maintain a high level of updating, transparency, and transfer of knowledge from outside into the organization. In addition, investment in information systems for the information integration provides the employees with the possibility of social networking during their work. 

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