Classification of knowledge-sharing mechanisms in projects
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[German title: Klassifizierung von Mechanismen zur Wissensteilung in Projekten]

Mechanisms for sharing knowledge in project-based organizations
Wai Fong Boh
Information and Organization
Volume 17, Issue 1 , 2007, Pages 27-58

Abstract: 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.

Keywords: Organizational learning; Project-based organizations; Case studies; Knowledge-sharing mechanisms

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© 2006 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.


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