Organisational Structures for Knowledge Management in New Product Development

[German title: Organisationsstrukturen für Wissensmanagement bei der Entwicklung neuer Pordukte]

Organising Knowledge Management and Dissemination in New Product Development: Lessons from 12 Global Corporations
Klas Eric Söderquist
Long Range Planning
Volume 39, Issue 5 , October 2006, Pages 497-523

Abstract: New Product Development is one of the most knowledge intensive processes in business and is itself constantly creating new knowledge. As NPD relies heavily on collaboration within cross-functional teams, the question of how such knowledge, which to a large extent is tacit, should best be managed and disseminated is crucial. Studying this problem with data from the multi-project NPD environments of 12 large global manufacturing companies, we identify three typical organisational structures for knowledge management, one as a central strategic function, a second where KM is internal to individual projects and a third where it is the affair of specialized functional departments.
We assess the strength of each option in terms of clarity of mission, how supportive they are in promoting the transfer and sharing of knowledge, and what sort of frictions may accompany their use. A focused area of the research is the alternative formats for job rotation that each structural style promotes, and the prospect of some ‘ideal type’ of knowledge management structure as a hybrid of these styles is examined.

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Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.

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