CCE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)


College of Engineering and Computing


Timothy J. Ellis

Committee Member

Donald McKay II

Committee Member

Steven R. Terrell


Knowledge is a sustainable advantage and knowledge assets can increase value with use. A snowball effect of knowledge advantage advocates effective knowledge management and fosters its continual growth as it flows. Knowledge, however, flows unevenly throughout an organization and the problem is that the fundamental dynamics of these flows are still not well characterized in theoretical and computational models. This study built on existing work—knowledge-flow theory, need knowledge generation, and the critical success factors for enterprise resource planning implementation—to examine the multidimensional knowledge-flow phenomenon in context, and used the case study methodology for knowledge-flow theory building. The research question was two-pronged: how can need knowledge and its flow across stakeholders within an organization be explained using a multidimensional knowledge-flow model and how can Nissen’s five-dimensional knowledge-flow model be validated using a real-life immersion case? The researcher relied on three sources of evidence for this case study: project-related documentation, archival records, and interviews. Data triangulation yielded three results components: (a) a chronology of key events that obstructed knowledge flow, (b) a logic model depicting themes that contributed to knowledge-flow obstruction, and (c) explanations of the knowledge-flow patterns. This case study suggested enabling need knowledge determinants and obstructing conditions are in play that determine the path of need knowledge flow. These two research artifacts should be considered together to provide a fresh research avenue towards better understanding of knowledge flow dynamics.