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Competing for Attention in Knowledge Markets: Electronic Document Dissemination in a Management Consulting Company

Morten T. Hansen and Martine R. Haas
Administrative Science Quarterly
Vol. 46, No. 1 (Mar., 2001), pp. 1-28
DOI: 10.2307/2667123
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2667123
Page Count: 28
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Competing for Attention in Knowledge Markets: Electronic Document Dissemination in a Management Consulting Company
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Abstract

The relatively recent explosion of information available in electronic forms makes attention, rather than information, the scarce resource in organizations. In this paper, we theorize about how suppliers of electronic information compete for this resource and use data on document database use in a management consulting company to show that document suppliers that occupied a crowded segment of the firm's internal knowledge market gained less attention from employees (measured as monthly use of their database) but were able to combat this negative competitive effect by being selective and concentrated in their document supply. This result reveals a paradox of information supply in competitive information markets: the less information a supplier offered, the more it was used, because the supplier developed a reputation for quality and focus. We suggest that this view of competition for attention can also be applied to the competition among Web sites in external information markets.

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