Exchange Theory by EveryAvenue

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									Knowledge Transfer Between
Projects-
Applying Social Exchange Theory

      L. E. Onsøyen, I. Spjelkavik & T. Steiro
         SINTEF Technology and Society

         XII EAWOP, Istanbul, May 12- 15, 2005



                             Technology and Society
Background

 Projects have traditionally been assessed and managed
 by the criteria time, cost and quality.

 Knowledge transfer is a fourth criterion for project success
 in order to stay competitive in the long run for project-
 based organizations.

 Research question: How is knowledge transfer
 between projects conducted?




                                 Technology and Society
Method

 A survey with 54 respondents including both project
 mananagers and project members.
 4 semi- structured interviews with project managers.
 8 meetings with this research groups steering comittee
 consisting of both human resource managers and
 knowledge managers.
 The respondents/ informants are coming from two oil and
 gas companies, one telecommunication company, three
 consultancy companies and one construction company.
 They can all be termed as knowledge intensive according
 to Alvesson´s (1995) definition.



                               Technology and Society
Results I
 In an attempt to improve knowledge transfer many
 organisations invest in Information and Communication (ICT)
 systems.

 In this study we observe that people who strongly believe that
 ICT systems will enable knowledge transfer between projects
 have no experience with such systems.

 People who have used the ICT systems, however, claim that
 the systems do not work according to the intentions.

 We will not conclude that ICT systems are of no use, but
 perhaps the expectations have been too high or the systems
 may not have been properly implemented or used.
                                   Technology and Society
Results II
In our study we observe further that:

  Knowledge transfer mainly finds place in face-to-face
  situations.
  Knowledge transfer requires trust and freedom, not
  control.
  Formal and informal arenas needs to be created.
  Allow time for learning arenas and do not expect
  immediate results.
  Simple templates and tools can be helpful in reinforcing
  knowledge transfer.


                                   Technology and Society
Discussion- What role can top
management play?
 A clear message by top management that time spent for
 knowledge transfer is important.
 Time set aside for experience transfer can be viewed as
 an expression of organizational culture.
 The respondents in our study claim that their
 organisations lack a clear direction for knowledge work in
 general.
 However, top management commitment is a necessary,
 but not a sufficient condition because people working in
 projects have an inner motivation for learning and
 improving.


                                 Technology and Society
Discussion- what is needed in addition?
 We will argue that applying social exchange theory will
 help the organitions to be aware of the social processes in
 regarding knowledge transfer.
 Social exchange theory claim that relationships need to be
 balanced between input and output in order to be mutual
 beneficial and stable over time.
 Acknowledging this, the organizational members can be
 more aware of what can be achieved regarding knowledge
 transfer and create good networking skills.
 We think that social exchange theory is one of the most
 undervalued and undercommunicated theories in
 psychology.

                                 Technology and Society
Conclusions
 ICT systems can be helpfull as a mean of providing
 knowledge transfer between projects.
 Simple templates that are easy to fill in and can give hints
 on what type of challenges people have been exposed for.
 A lot of the most valuable knowledge will typically be tacit
 and you therefore need to communicate with people
 directly.
 Organizations would benefit from paying more attention to
 social processes like social exchange theory.
 Good knowledge transfer between projects: good
 structures+ good processes.



                                 Technology and Society

								
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