Knowledge transfer in projects

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Transcript Knowledge transfer in projects

Knowledge Transfer – A Study on
Construction Projects in a Norwegian
Public Sector Organisation
European Conference on Knowledge Management
Famalicão, Portugal, 2-3 September 2010
Anandasivakumar Ekambaram
Jan Alexander Langlo
Agnar Johansen
Technology and Society
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Context of the study
 Organisational context
 Statsbygg: The largest Norwegian public sector
organisation
 The PUS-project: Practical management of uncertainty
seen from the project owner perspective
 The SUS-project: Management of uncertainty in
Statsbygg
 Research methods
 Qualitative research
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Defining the terms – knowledge and
knowledge transfer
 Knowledge is a fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual
information and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating
and incorporating new experiences and information. It originates and
is applied in the minds of knowers. In organizations, it often becomes
embedded not only in documents or repositories but also in
organizational routines, processes, practices and norms.
Davenport, Thomas and Prusak, Laurence (1998): Working knowledge – How
organizations manage what they know, Harvard Business School press
(The underline is made by the presenters of the paper)
 Theory: Objectivist and practice-based perspectives on knowledge
 Information and interpretation of information
Ekambaram, Anandasivakumar (2008): The role of knowledge transfer in reducing reinvention of the wheel in
project organizations, Doctoral thesis, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
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Knowledge transfer in projects
 How important is it to focus on knowledge transfer in
projects?
 Xerox corporation
 Chevron
 Theseus International Management Institute
 How challenging is it to focus on knowledge transfer in
projects?
 Externally hired project participants
 Project sub-culture
 Attitudes towards knowledge transfer
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Existing initiatives to transfer
knowledge in the organisation
 The organisation
 “The House”
 Statsbygg School
 Meetings and seminars
 Research activities
 The projects
 Following up contracts
 Routines for reporting and meetings
 Uncertainty analyses
 Instances of knowledge transfer in individual projects
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The five levels of maturity
Level 5:
Continuous
Improvement
Level 4:
Benchmarking
Level 3:
Singular
Methodology
Level 2:
Common
Processes
Level 1:
Common
Language
Kerzner, Harold (2009): Project Management –
A systems approach to planning, scheduling
and controlling, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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What does the study show – The
main conclusion
 Learning and knowledge transfer in 3 levels: Individual,
group and organisational levels
 At individual and group levels, the extent of knowledge
transfer is good; for example:
 Developing own tools to manage uncertainty in their respective
projects based on their previous project experiences
 Knowledge transfer is not good at the organisational level
as it is at the individual and group levels
 The tools that were used in different projects were similar
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Suggestion for practical solutions - I
An approach to institutionalising knowledge:
1. Establish a knowledge strategy: The knowledge strategy must be
associated with management’s responsibility and in harmony with the
organisation’s strategy
2. Take tactical decisions in order to fulfil strategic objectives
3. Establish supporting tools and supporting functions
4. Make the conditions favourable for direct, firsthand knowledge
sharing
5. Make the conditions favourable for sharing processed / edited /
formalised knowledge
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Suggestion for practical solutions - II
Methods to institutionalising knowledge:
 Take tactical decisions in order to fulfil strategic objectives

Knowledge managers
 Conducting a knowledge audit
 Establish supporting tools and supporting functions

Knowledge repositories
 Knowledge mapping
 Make the conditions favourable for direct, firsthand knowledge sharing

Communities of practice
 Mentoring
 Make the conditions favourable for sharing processed / edited / formalised knowledge

Storytelling
 Identifying and sharing best practices
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Reflection
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The phenomenon of reinventing the wheel is complex
Availability of information on knowledge sources
Attitudes toward knowledge transfer
Dealing with contextual elements of knowledge
Exploiting knowledge versus exploring knowledge
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Thank you
 Contact information:
 A. Ekambaram: [email protected]
 J. A. Langlo: [email protected]
 A. Johansen: [email protected]
 Norwegian Center of Project Management (NSP):
http://www.nsp.ntnu.no
 Questions
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