Thursday, April 26, 2012

Engaging with organisational management literature on knowledge transfer

This week, I am undertaking a literature review for a new CPIT project, funded by Innovation New Zealand. This project is to evaluate the processes that work well for bringing CPIT staff expertise and industry knowledge through the sharing of the use of a 3D printer. My role is to be the ‘observer’ and to find out through survey/brief interviews, what works well and how knowledge transfer between CPIT and industry can be improved.
The field of knowledge transfer has several synergies with my current work investigating how novices learn a trade. For one, all the literature I have accessed thus far, acknowledges the social dimension of knowledge and how knowledge is created in companies through the interactions ‘workers’ have with each other, the products they manufacture, the processes and systems they are organised to work with and their on-going relationships with their stakeholders (customers, other companies, suppliers etc.). The recent book - 'making work visible' detailing the ethnographic research approaches at Xerox (previewed in recent blog) and the book 'the social life of information' being good resources.

So diving into the organisational management focused literature on knowledge creation, knowledge transfer and exchange and how companies innovate is re-visiting a familiar place, just with slightly different players/actors. Several articles advocate the need to support ‘communities of practice’ and the approaches are very socio-cultural. Of note are the discussions on tacit knowledge and how these can be nurtured, ‘captured’/harnessed to improve innovation. As all in, a fruitful week engaging with literature that is slightly different but also similar :)

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