Knowledge transfer and learning: problems of knowledge transfer associated with trying to short-circuit the learning cycle

Newell, Sue (2005) Knowledge transfer and learning: problems of knowledge transfer associated with trying to short-circuit the learning cycle. Journal of Information Systems and Technology Management, 2 (3). pp. 275-290. ISSN 1807-1775

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Abstract

Knowledge is considered to be a key organizational resource in the 21st century and the
knowledge management ‘movement’ has alerted organizations to the fact that they should more
strategically exploit their knowledge assets. Companies are thus lured by the suggestion that they
can gain competitive advantage by the more astute management of their knowledge base and in
particular, by the transfer of knowledge across individuals, groups and organizational units,
using IT to accomplish this. In this paper, we reflect on this common view of knowledge
transfer. More specifically, we question an implication of this view - essentially the possibility of
short-circuiting the learning cycle, so that individuals do not have to rely on their personal or
shared experiences to identify better practices, but can learn from the codified lessons of others
in IT systems. More importantly, we consider the characteristics of knowledge – that knowledge
is distributed, ambiguous and disruptive – that makes its transfer highly problematic. Drawing on
case research, we relate this to the learning cycle (Kolb 1984) and thereby identify barriers to
knowledge transfer. We conclude by considering ways of overcoming these barriers by
emphasizing the importance of social systems alongside technical systems.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Business and Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business
Depositing User: Catrina Hey
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2014 16:50
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2017 04:11
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/51041

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