Conceptions of knowledge transfer in organisations : a bibliometric and content analysis of three journals

Moyo, Nomaqhawe (2015-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT:Central to this study is the transfer of knowledge in organisations. The aim of this study is to ascertain how the concept of Knowledge Transfer (KT) is represented thematically in the three journals MIS Quarterly, Organization Science, and Management Science. It reviews the growth and development of KT in the context of organisational management and determines the historical and emerging themes and trends thereof. The study focuses on articles that listed any of the following concepts: ‘knowledge transfer’, ‘knowledge sharing’ and ‘knowledge flow’ either in the abstract, as a keyword, or in the title of the paper. A total of 146 articles were identified and analysed through the use of bibliometric and content analysis research methods. The results show that there has been a gradual increase of articles addressing KT related issues in organisations. The historical themes identified include contextual factors, mechanisms, geographic factors, business context, areas of study, agents, flow of knowledge and different knowledge types. From the historical themes, knowledge transfer is a growing literature with many different theories and models, contexts and goals, practices and measures. It is an active process and not a simple act of imitating an example of good practice from one organisation to another. Practices need to be modified to fit new contexts and cultures and authors find that the very process of transferring knowledge, if not implemented properly, has a severe impact on organisational efforts aimed at knowledge management. The emerging trends include organisational performance, organisational learning, organisational change, innovation and change and knowledge networks. From the emerging trends, the clear result is that knowledge transfer is conducted by organisations in order for them to maximise profits and work efficiently. It is in the emerging themes that authors are questioning the popular view of knowledge transfer as a mechanical process. Emerging themes reveal that knowledge transfer is a complex process, involving many different players and factors that must be addressed before a successful transfer can occur. These include, motivating the employees, creating an enabling environment in terms of organisational culture and structure. The study concludes that knowledge transfer as a notion of management in organisations must be re-examined in order to clarify it and establish the relationship it has with other managerial concepts.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Sentraal tot hierdie studie is die voorstelling van kennisoordrag in die literatuur. Die doelwit is om te bepaal hoe die begrip “kennisoordrag” in drie tydskrifte naamlik MIS Quarterly; Organization Science en Management Science begryp word. Die studie bied ‘n oorsig van die groei en ontwikkeling van die begrip binne die konteks van organisatoriese bestuur en identifiseer die historiese en opkomende temas en tendense daarvan. Die studie fokus op artikels met die terme ‘kennisoordrag’, ‘deel van kennis’ of ‘kennisvloei’ in die opsommings óf titels van artikels. ‘n Totaal van 146 artikels is geïdentifiseer en ontleed met behulp van bibliometriese- en inhoudsanalitiese navorsingsmetodes. Die resultate van die studie toon ‘n geleidelike toename in artikels rakende kwessies rondom kennisoordrag in organisasies. Die historiese temas wat geïdentifiseer is, sluit in kontekstuele faktore, meganismes, geografiese faktore, organisatoriese konteks, studie areas, agente, kennisvloei en verskillende tipes kennis. Volgens die historiese temas is kennisoordrag ‘n groeiende literatuur met talle teorieë en modelle, kontekste en doelwitte, praktyke en maatstawwe. Dit is ‘n aktiewe proses en nie bloot die nabootsing van goeie praktyke tussen organisasies nie. Praktyke moet verander word om nuwe kontekste en kulture te pas. Outeurs het verder gevind dat die proses van kennisoordrag ‘n ernstige impak op organisasies se kennisbestuur pogings het. Die opkomende tendense sluit in organisatoriese prestasie, organisatoriese leer, organisatoriese verandering, innovasie en verandering en kennis-netwerke. ‘n Ontleding van opkomende tendense toon dat kennisoordrag in organisasies plaasvind met die oog op ‘n toename in wins en doeltreffendheid. Outeurs bevraagteken die gewilde siening dat kennisoordrag ‘n meganiese proses is. Die opkomende temas toon dat kennisoordrag ‘n komplekse proses is wat verskillende faktore behels wat aandag moet geniet voordat suksesvolle oordrag kan plaasvind. Hierdie faktore sluit in die motivering van werknemers en die skep van 'n gunstige omgewing met betrekking tot organisatoriese kultuur en struktuur. Die studie sluit af met die oogpunt dat kennisoordrag as ‘n inisiatief van ‘n organisasie se bestuur herevalueer moet word in ‘n poging om dit verder te verduidelik en die verhouding daarvan met ander bestuurskonsepte te bepaal.

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