University of Limerick
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Developing new categories of knowledge acquisition, translation and dissemination by technological gatekeepers

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-04-12, 08:37 authored by John N. Walsh
The role played by gatekeepers who acquire external technical knowledge, translate that knowledge so as to contextualise it for their companies needs and disseminate it to key organisational personnel is of increasing importance and value to firms. This study uses a single case study to extend the existing literature on technological gatekeepers through helping to fill two theoretical gaps. Firstly, by examining how gatekeepers operate in a new functional area: a technical hardware and software product support department. Secondly, by focusing on a site where corporate information systems and repositories were used to support gatekeeping activities. This focus on new organisational and systems contexts enabled the development of new categorisations within each phase of gatekeeping activity, resulting in a revised model of gatekeeper behaviour. Two new and distinct modes of knowledge acquisition were identified: reactive acquisition to solve immediate problems and proactive acquisition that was related to emerging technologies. Whether knowledge had been validated or was provisional was identified as a new concept to be considered during the acquisition phase. The systems focus enabled a number of new forms of knowledge translation and dissemination to be categorised. Rationalised translation involved clarifying and elaborating on translations held in the corporate repository while tiered translations enabled versions of translations to be electronically available to different levels of users. While interpersonal dissemination was present the increasing reliance on information systems for dissemination diminished the traditional need for gatekeepers to expended time and energy developing social networks.



International Journal of Information Management;35 (5), pp. 594-605






This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in International Journal of Information Management. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in International Journal of Information Management, Vol.35, No. 5, pp. 594-605,



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