Bridging Islands of Knowledge: A Framework of Knowledge Sharing Mechanisms
National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering
University of Cambridge - Centre for Technology Management
University of Cambridge
September 16, 2009
International Journal of Technology Management, Vol. 25, No. 8, pp. 703-727, 2003
This paper attempts to answer the question of what and how knowledge sharing mechanisms should be used between geographically dispersed plants in multinational companies. Case studies in eleven multinational companies reveal many mechanisms are used for inter-plant knowledge sharing, which are grouped into eight categories: transfer of people, forums (internal conferences/meetings), boundary spanners, periodicals, audits, benchmarking, best-practice guidelines and international teams. It is found that some knowledge sharing mechanisms are more suited for one stage of knowledge sharing than the other, as determined by their ‘reach’ and ‘richness’. Specifically, mechanisms with high ‘reach’ are more suitable in creating awareness among potential receivers and mechanisms with high ‘richness’ are often more effective in transferring the knowledge. In addition, the choice of mechanism is also dependent on the degree of tacitness and embeddedness knowledge transferred. Based on these insights, a framework linking knowledge sharing mechanisms with knowledge transferred is constructed.
Keywords: knowledge sharing mechanism, Media Richness Theory, reach
JEL Classification: M11, O32,Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: September 17, 2009 ; Last revised: February 24, 2012
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