Knowledge transfer within and across organizational boundaries: A case study in the construction industry
Paper i proceeding, 2012
Knowledge transfer is essential for an organization to be competitive and successful. However, as projects are temporary, knowledge is often bound to the individuals in projects rather than to the core organizations. The main research question for this article is: How can collaboration be used in order to transfer knowledge from one project to another within an organization or with other organizations within a project? To do this, a theoretical framework of recent literature concerning knowledge management and transfer is used, as well as a case study about an urban development organization working with a rather unique collaboration structure in order to maximize the knowledge transfer from and between different actors. Our method of research has been interviews with a divisional manager and two project managers at an urban development organization. Results from our case study indicate that in the planning phase, knowledge transfer includes collecting feedback and information as well as using a central knowledge platform. During the production phase, face-to-face communication is the most important form of knowledge transfer. After each project, evaluation is essential to collect the experience of collaboration and identify planning errors. Our findings also show that most knowledge transfer occurs at an informal level. The study concludes that several factors affect knowledge transfer in a construction organization. The most essential are the media in which knowledge is transferred and the way information is stored. Taking all factors into consideration, an organization with a decentralized structure and an open and broad-minded culture enables successful knowledge transfer.