Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration


School of Management


Business and Law

First Advisor

Associate Professor Dieter Fink


Knowledge Maps (KMaps) could be ideally suited for resolving many of the traceability problems in computer software maintenance. This thesis provides an understanding of the various factors that will encourage or impede the software maintenance community to adopt KMaps as part of their process. ABC Company in Perth, Western Australia, was chosen as the research site because it is a multinational software development company with customers in many major cities around the world. Since Knowledge Mapping (KMapping) is relatively new to most software staffers, it was necessary to develop a Software Maintenance KMap prototype. A literature review of KMapping, innovation adoption/diffusion theories and the review of three KMapping case studies determined the factors used to develop the theoretical model and guided the design of the prototype. To evaluate attitudes to the adoption of the prototype, the researcher adopted the interpretive research approach, justifying his decision by using Chua’s (1986) three sets of beliefs to ‘delineate a way of seeing and researching the world’. Nineteen interviews were conducted and analysed through NVivoTM software and according to the steps in ‘Carney’s Letter of Analytical Abstraction’. Encouragement factors were found to be those that management has direct control over such as the planning for the communication and promotion of KMapping, the appointment of a management champion, the allocation of resources and time to the KMapping project and the planning for appropriate rewards and incentive programmes. As for the impeding factors, these were factors that related to what staffers thought of the quality of the results or data links in the KMaps and included such factors as the existence of inadequate or inappropriate data and poor configuration management. Adoption factors formed the basis from which the study’s explanatory framework, named the KMapping Adoption Model (KAM), was synthesised. In addition, the study makes recommendations of push and pull strategies, integrated into KAM, to managers who are planning to introduce KMapping into their organisations. The thesis concludes with a recognition of the study’s limitations and suggestions for future research.