Article when wiki technology meets corporate knowledge management routines: A sociomateriality perspective

Esther Brainin, Ofer Arazy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There seems to be an inherent tension between wiki affordances—open boundaries, unconstrained editing, and transparency—and traditional knowledge management (KM) routines used in firms. The objective of this study is to investigate how users respond to these tensions during adoption of wiki technology at the workplace. The theoretical lens of sociomateriality highlights the manner in which routines and materiality (namely, technology) relate to one another, providing a useful conceptualization for our investigation. In particular, we adopt Leonardi’s theory of human and material imbrication, which stresses the importance of a worker’s past experiences with technology in determining his future adoption decisions. Extending Leonardi’s conceptualization, we suggest that out-of-work experiences are also influential. Namely, we argue that attitudes towards Wikipedia influence one’s response to wiki deployment in the workplace. Using an online survey containing four open-ended questions, we assessed the perceptions of employees towards wiki deployment. Results from our qualitative analysis of 1032 responses reveal five approaches users take in responding to the tensions between wiki affordances and existing KM routines, highlighting the effect of users’ dispositions towards Wikipedia. Our findings inform the sociomateriality literature and shed light on the challenges faced by organizations trying to adopt social media tools.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: This work was partially supported by SSHRC Insight Grant 435-2013-0624.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Affordances
  • Imbrication
  • Organizational change
  • Routines
  • Social media
  • Sociomateriality
  • Technology adoption
  • Wiki

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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