Mechanisms for sharing knowledge in project-based organizations
Boh, Wai Fong
Date of Issue2006
College of Business (Nanyang Business School)
Organizations need to effectively combine and utilize knowledge resources that are distributed amongst the employees and groups in the firm. This paper examines the use of knowledge-sharing mechanisms to leverage the learning, experience and expertise of employees accumulated across projects. I specify a framework that classifies the knowledge-sharing mechanisms used by project-based organizations. Prior research tends to examine only one dimension of knowledge-sharing mechanisms – personalization versus codification. Personalization mechanisms are often assumed to be more ad hoc and informal, and codification mechanisms are assumed to be formal and involve the use of electronic databases. In this paper, personalization versus codification and individualization versus institutionalization are highlighted as two distinct dimensions of knowledge-sharing mechanisms. Individualized knowledge-sharing mechanisms are informal and unstructured, while institutionalized knowledge-sharing mechanisms are formal and embedded in organizational routines and structure. A framework is presented to show how the two dimensions interact. Based on empirical case studies in two project-based organizations, the paper examines if there are suitable configurations of knowledge-sharing mechanisms for organizations with different characteristics. The study contributes to research by providing a more nuanced classification of knowledge-sharing mechanisms, and provides guidance to managers about the types of knowledge-sharing mechanisms that should be adopted based on the size, geographical dispersion and task nature of organizations.
Information and organization
© 2006 Elsevier Ltd. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Information and Organization, Elsevier. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.infoandorg.2006.10.001].