K.Exchange - A Systematic Approach to Knowledge Transfer of The Aging Workforce
14 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2008
Date Written: June 19, 2008
Managing knowledge of the aging workforce is a major challenge, particularly to companies in the aerospace industry. Whenever an expert or manager retires or takes up a new position, there is the risk of losing his or her knowledge about what it really needs to fill his/her position. Apart from the risk of losing expert knowledge about administrative or technical issues, there is also the risk of losing distinct, personal social networks which are needed for gathering information or synchronising with colleagues. Without knowing informal relationships within complex organizational environments, it is quite impossible to solve crossdepartmental problems and take relevant decisions.
While the importance of experts' and managers' knowledge about internal and external social networks is widely recognized, especially in aerospace companies, practical concepts and systematic approaches to allocate mainly experience-based knowledge, however, are still in the stage of early development. Our research-based approach, developed as a spin-off from the Technical University Berlin and the Fraunhofer-Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology with more than six years of experience and applications mainly in the aerospace industries, has contributed to a detailed set of methods to systematically support the retention of knowledge - both the experts' technical knowledge and the experience-based knowledge about social networks and, in terms of executives, management style. This approach is presented here and illustrated by a case study that demonstrates how valuable knowledge could be saved for the benefits of Airbus.
Keywords: knowledge management, knowledge retention, knowledge exchange, knowledge transfer, human resource management; experience based knowledge, management knowledge or management style, social network, age, aging workforce, retirement, aviation, aerospace company, Airbus
JEL Classification: D21, D23, D70, D83
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