The Effect of Knowledge Characteristics on Project Team Work: Developing a Measurement Method

By Christopher Gresse.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Chandler’s (1976, p. 383) proposition that structure follows strategy has been an important starting point for research on the relation of behavioural factors and organizational structure. Recently, Fisch (2001) expanded this and proposed that structure follows knowledge as well, as is evident in the increasing number of knowledge-related publications on organization design. While Chandlers perspective was on the whole firm, and Fisch studied R&D structures of multinational corporations, the focus in this paper, while following the same idea of fitting the tool to the task, is on a smaller scale, on the individual project team as an organizational structure, and how this structure might benefit from being adapted to the knowledge it is supposed to contain. Knowledge, as will be discussed, can be defined as purpose-related and connected information within an individual. The structuring and management of successful knowledge transfer into the organization, within the organization, and out of the organization are vital activities of the innovative firm. These activities, if concerned with knowledge for the design and production of new products, are an integral part of the innovation management of the firm. To facilitate transfer and prevent difficult interactions or even project failure, a transfer activity should take into account the characteristics of the knowledge which is to be transferred. Certain knowledge characteristics are assumed to have an effect on the project management and the coordination of knowledge transfer. If these characteristics are to be considered when designing a project structure and assembling a project team, they have to be made measurable. The application of such a measurement would allow the design of a project structure which would fit to the existing knowledge characteristics and thus make a successful transfer more likely (see Gerybadze’s (2004) suggestions). In this paper, a first field test of such an instrument is presented.

Keywords: Knowledge Transfer, Innovation Management, Teams

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 8, Issue 12, pp.75-84. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 699.575KB).

Christopher Gresse

Research Fellow, Center for International Management Studies, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany

Christopher Gresse is currently working as a Research Fellow at the Center for International Management and Innovation at the University of Hohenheim and pursuing a Ph.D. His research focuses on knowledge transfer and innovation management mainly in technology transfer settings. He has studied Industrial and Organizational Psychology at the Philipps-Universitaet Marburg and the RWTH Aachen. In 2004, he was a Visiting Research Scholar at the Department of Cognitive Psychology at the State University of New York, Binghamton. In 2008, he visited the University of California at Berkeley as a Visiting Student Researcher at the Institute of Management, Innovation, and Organization to study knowledge transfer and distributed work within U.S. and German Multinationals in California.

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