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User development through proactive knowledge transfer

Abdelkader Daghfous (Department of Marketing, School of Business Administration, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE)
Norita Ahmad (Department of Management, School of Business and Administration, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 2 February 2015




The purpose of this paper is to elucidate the concept of user development which consists of proactively transferring knowledge to potential users of IT innovations in order to increase the likelihood of innovation adoption and diffusion.


An exploratory approach was adopted using three case organizations representing different sectors. These organizations represent the public, the semi-government, and the private sectors.


The findings show that proactive knowledge transfer builds the requisite absorptive capacity of users to understand, adopt new and complex systems and technologies, and effectively integrate them into their organizations, hence increasing their likelihood of adopting such innovations. The findings also show that effective user development hinges on proper selection of potential users and on goals alignment between the innovating firm and the selected users.

Research limitations/implications

The framework could be further refined through more diverse case studies from a broader range of companies. Survey-based investigations are also needed to operationalize the constructs and explore its effects on the performance of the innovating firm. In practice, innovation managers should be more proactive by recognizing the value of knowledge transfer when it comes to expanding and accelerating the adoption and diffusion of their innovations.


This paper illustrates the importance of proactive knowledge transfer, especially in situation that call for absorptive capacity building. This paper also opens new opportunities for innovation managers to sell their innovations faster and to a wider market, and perhaps even altering the trajectory of particular innovations.



Daghfous, A. and Ahmad, N. (2015), "User development through proactive knowledge transfer", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 115 No. 1, pp. 158-181.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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