Big data and smart cities: a public sector organizational learning perspective

Ekene Okwechime, Peter Duncan, David Edgar

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)
    94 Downloads (Pure)


    Public sector organizations (city authorities) have begun to explore ways to exploit big data to provide smarter solutions for cities. The way organizations learn to use new forms of technology has been widely researched. However, many public sector organisations have found themselves in new territory in trying to deploy and integrate this new form of technology (big data) to another fast moving and relatively new concept (smart city). This paper is a cross-sectional scoping study—from two UK smart city initiatives—on the learning processes experienced by elite (top management) stakeholders in the advent and adoption of these two novel concepts. The findings are an experiential narrative account on learning to exploit big data to address issues by developing solutions through smart city initiatives. The findings revealed a set of moves in relation to the exploration and exploitation of big data through smart city initiatives: (a) knowledge finding; (b) knowledge reframing; (c) inter-organization collaborations and (d) ex-post evaluations. Even though this is a time-sensitive scoping study it gives an account on a current state-of-play on the use of big data in public sector organizations for creating smarter cities. This study has implications for practitioners in the smart city domain and contributes to academia by operationalizing and adapting Crossan et al’s (Acad Manag Rev 24(3): 522–537, 1999) 4I model on organizational learning.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)601-625
    Number of pages25
    JournalInformation Systems and E-Business Management
    Issue number3
    Early online date9 Jun 2017
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


    • big data
    • public sector
    • smart city


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