Title: Investment appraisal and evaluation: preserving tacit knowledge and competitive advantage

Authors: Julian Sims; Philip Powell; Richard Vidgen

Addresses: School of Business, Economics and Informatics, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, WC1E 7HX, London ' School of Business, Economics and Informatics, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, WC1E 7HX, London ' Department of Management Systems, Hull University Business School, Hull HU6 7RX, UK

Abstract: This research asks if intuitive investment appraisal and evaluation are appropriate under conditions of rapid change, uncertain outcomes, limited information, and when competitive advantage derives from tacit knowledge. Measures and rational approaches to appraisal and evaluation require distal knowledge made explicit in documents and techniques. Converting valuable tacit knowledge, residing in individuals and organisational context, into coded distal knowledge, which is more easily replicated, risks jeopardising the uniqueness of competencies and capabilities that underpin competitive advantage. The research investigates e-learning projects in higher education and finds little evidence of formal rational investment appraisal and evaluation in IS projects characterised by uncertainty and a lack of clear information.

Keywords: investment appraisal; tacit knowledge; investment evaluation; competitive advantage; information systems; e-learning; electronic learning; online learning; higher education.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBSR.2015.066822

International Journal of Business and Systems Research, 2015 Vol.9 No.1, pp.86 - 103

Available online: 06 Jan 2015 *

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