Facilitators, Inhibitors, and Obstacles – A Refined Categorization Regarding Barriers for Knowledge Transfer, Sharing, and Flow
Paper i proceeding, 2013

Within the KM area, numerous terms are frequently used. Among terms that have high significance for change in the knowledge structure, terms related to distribution or dispersion are common. Four of those terms are Knowledge Transfer (KT), Knowledge Sharing (KS), Knowledge Flow (KF), and Knowledge Barriers. Barriers come in many forms, ranging from strictly individual/personal barriers through group-related barriers, intra- and inter-organizational barriers, barriers related to national differences, as well as an array of technology-related barriers. Several authors have developed categories with the purpose to create a structure. However, these categories only focus on type of barrier. There is a lack of categorization that divides barriers due to their relative effect on the KT and KS or KF. The purpose is to present a refined categorization regarding factors that influence knowledge transfer, sharing, and flow and to show how previously identified barriers fit into this new categorization. This research has been carried out as a literature review. Previously identified influencing factors have been re-categorized. The research has resulted in a proposition of factors influencing knowledge dissemination and the following terms are suggested: (1) Facilitators (which denominate factors with positive influence), (2) Inhibitors (factors with negative influence) and (3) Obstacles (factors that obstruct knowledge dissemination, until certain conditions or levels are fulfilled). The proposed categorization is supported by descriptive examples taken from in-depth case studies of four multinational manufacturing companies with product development in Sweden and manufacturing in China The refined categorization will enable practitioners and academics alike to develop suitable tools to further enhance the collective (or individual) understanding of the mechanisms behind knowledge dissemination.

Knowledge Transfer

Knowledge Sharing


Knowledge Barrier




Dan Paulin

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation

Mats Winroth

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Supply and Operations Management

10th International Conference on Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning (ICICKM 2013), 24-25 Oct 2013, Washington DC, USA



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