Knowing through narratives: the role of knowledge within the technological innovation process in the UK upstream oil and gas industry.
Burnett, Simon M.
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The aim of this research was to further understanding of the role of knowledge and knowledge-based processes within the process of technological innovation within the UK upstream oil and gas industry. The scope of the research encompassed three groups of actors within the innovation process: technology providers, enablers and end users. The research employed a qualitative approach using narrative and semi-structured interviews as a method for data collection, and employed an analytical template to analyse the data which was developed by integrating elements of Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) with narrative schema. A hypertextual system was also developed to determine how the explicit knowledge of the actors within the innovation process could be codified and transferred. The findings identify six knowledge-based processes present within the technological innovation process: knowledge acquisition and learning; knowledge transfer; knowledge storage and maintenance; knowledge creation; knowledge application and exploitation; and knowledge valuation and measurement. The research shows that different emphases are placed on the importance of these processes according to the role of each group of actors. In relation to the forms and types of knowledge present within the innovation process, the procedural and declarative knowledge of the technology providers are identified as key sources for the creation of new technologies. However, the enabling organisation plays a critical role in the innovation process by acting as a conduit of knowledge between the technology providers and the end users. End users are identified as a source of conditional knowledge relating to the applications of new technologies, and provide essential support for the process through funding. The research contributes to the understanding of the relationships which exist between the knowledge processes within the technological innovation process, and identifies an additional form of conditional knowledge used within the process. Methodological contributions are made in the application of snowball sampling; the development and application of the knowledge-based analytical template; the relationship between narrative schema and soft systems methodology; and the development and application of the hypertextual narrative system.