This case study of the information flows within a British biotechnology company
involved a population of 156 and took place over five years. It included information
provision and information management as embedded studies. The main investigation
into information flows was done in three parts, using questionnaires. The parts were:
Use of Information Centre information resources, company-wide information flows
and assessment of the perceived effectiveness of existing information flows.
Combined, these three parts represent a 'snapshot' of the flows over a timespan of
about three months.
The methodology used to present the individual information flows is novel. The
results showed that inter-personal communication or information flows were good,
with e-mail being extensively used; that most inter-Group flows were functional, but
that flows through the company were poor. Information flow out of the company was
restricted. The main barriers to effective flows were excessive secrecy which
prevented open exchange of information, lack of finance and the split sites. Although
these were only a few miles from the main building, the staff felt isolated.
The results further show that the most used information resources were colleagues,
and that the most used non-human information resources were not held in the IC. The
main users of the IC were the R&D staff, while more than 50% of the company rarely
or never used the facility. The investigation represents an early example of
Knowledge Management and further documents a stage in the evolution of
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.