The Strategic Importance of Knowledge Transfer in VOs
The process of knowledge transfer has been recognized as being critical to organizational performance. It becomes even more important in the context of virtual or dispersed organizations, where the process of transfer is more complex because of distances. However, most organizations do not appear to have a scientific mechanism to measure knowledge transfer effectiveness. This chapter starts from first principles by lending conceptual clarity to knowledge and knowledge transfer. It navigates through multiple interpretations to understand how knowledge transfer can be deemed to be successful and how organizations are assessing its effectiveness. It examines existing approaches to studying knowledge transfer outcomes. This reveals that there appears to be no commonly accepted approach to measuring knowledge transfer effectiveness. It also highlights the need to understand the inherent dimensionalities to derive a diagnostic view of the transfer process, rather than viewing it as a cumulative measure at the end of the process. The lacunae in existing approaches are enumerated, and the guiding parameters for determining the dimensionalities of knowledge transfer in a dispersed organizational setting are identified. A model for measuring knowledge transfer effectiveness is evolved using a two-step approach. The first step develops a generic model for measuring transfer effectiveness by identifying the implicit dimensions from a process perspective. The sub-processes covering both the supply and demand facets are taken into account to provide a more holistic view of the transfer process. In the second step, this model is expanded to accommodate the dimensions that arise out of geographic dispersion of the entities involved in the transfer. This also forms the conceptual model based on which detailed empirical research is done later. Finally it discusses the uses of such a diagnostic tool and describes how it can be customized in the context of different manifestations of VOs.
KeywordsKnowledge Transfer Project Team Current Location Distant Location Knowledge Worker
- 1.Davenport T, Prusak L (1998) Working knowledge. Harvard Business School Press, BostonGoogle Scholar
- 9.Ko D-G, Kirsch LJ, King WR (2005) Antecedents of knowledge transfer from consultants to clients in enterprise system implementations. MIS Q 29(1):59–85Google Scholar
- 11.Szulanski G (2004) Imperfection, transfer failure and the replication of knowledge. J Manage Enq 13(2):141–150Google Scholar
- 12.Gold AH, Malhotra A, Segars AH (2001) Knowledge management: an organizational capabilities perspective. J Manag Inf Syst 18(1):185–214Google Scholar