Toward a Process-oriented Knowledge Transfer Framework for a Knowledge Intensive Firm (KIF)

Glaeser, Volker (2017) Toward a Process-oriented Knowledge Transfer Framework for a Knowledge Intensive Firm (KIF). DBA thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Abstract

Managing and transferring knowledge within a corporation becomes the ultimate key for survival in the Knowledge Age. Internal knowledge is often unique and lays the foundation for a company’s competitiveness. Effective and fast knowledge transfer (KT) is particularly critical to KIFs such as IT consultancies, R&D based companies or firms in the software industry. Intrafirm KT is a complex undertaking though and a number of initiatives fail. Therefore, achieving optimal KT is a compelling need. The aim of this thesis is to explore what kind of process-oriented framework helps create optimal KT practices in a KIF by applying and adapting the Scrum management and control practices. Scrum was initially formalised for the development of software and can be used to manage complex projects. Enhancing Scrum to enable intra-firm KT represents a novel approach, involving diverse roles across a team of employees and making use of their respective capabilities. The work makes a contribution to knowledge by introducing clearly defined KT process steps and documentation tools - underpinned by motivational practices, transparency and accountability of individual employees to find ways for them to impart their knowledge. It proffers an extension to existing frameworks and models. The study could be highly relevant for practitioners concerned with intra-firm KT for two reasons. Employing the newly developed approach helps investigate appropriate organisational contexts and, more importantly, provides a practical set of tools to assist with the task of enabling KT. The form of a case study within a KIF, a consultancy firm focussed on digital business transformation, has been chosen as the foundation for the inquiry. The research strategy is rooted in a participatory paradigm. Qualitative data captured in the company were specifically developed through participatory action research (PAR). Documentary analysis, non-participant observation, and open-ended interviews ahead of iterative action-reflection cycles contributed to providing new learning for a team of highly qualified Knowledge Workers (KWs). Overall the team of consultants that was the focus of this case study believes that knowledge in the firm will be transferred faster and sustainably by employing practices of interaction and adaptation within a knowledge-friendly and motivational environment. The time required to phase new consultants into existing projects, where KT was indispensable, was reduced significantly by 50% from four to two weeks. The research suggests that the newly developed process-oriented framework can greatly improve KT practices in a KIF by applying practices of gathering data and information (Aggregating), prioritising them (Featuring), reviewing KT progress (Reviewing), and utilising newly acquired knowledge (Doing). The key findings of this work, the AFRD-process and the AFRD-framework, were subject to an audit by an expert panel from the Fresenius University of Applied Science in Munich, Germany, and practitioners in a machine engineering company in Augsburg, Germany.

Item Type: Thesis (DBA)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Adamson, Ivanaiadamson2@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Burger, Dorisdburger@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Uncontrolled Keywords: Knowledge Transfer Framework; Intrafim knowledge transfer; Scrum
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management > HD58 Organizational behavior, change and effectiveness. Corporate culture
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5717 Business communication
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business and Technology > Business & Enterprise Management
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2018 12:42
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2018 12:42
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/5833

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