Interdepartmental Knowledge Transfer Success During Information Technology Projects

Interdepartmental Knowledge Transfer Success During Information Technology Projects

Kevin Laframboise (Concordia University, Canada), Anne-Marie Croteau (Concordia University, Canada), Anne Beaudry (Concordia University, Canada) and Mantas Manovas (Concordia University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-140-7.ch012
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This article reports on a study that investigates the knowledge transfer between an information systems/ technology (IS/IT) department and non-IT departments during IT projects. More specifically, we look into the link between the knowledge management capabilities of the IT department and the effectiveness and efficiency of the knowledge transfer to a client department. Knowledge management (KM) capabilities are defined by Gold, Malhotra, and Segars (2001) as the combination of knowledge infrastructure capabilities (structural, technical, and cultural) and knowledge processes capabilities (acquisition, conversion, application, and protection). Data collected through a Web-based survey result in 127 usable questionnaires completed by managers in large Canadian organizations. Data analysis performed using partial least squares (PLS) indicates that knowledge infrastructure capabilities are related to the knowledge transfer success, and more specifically to its effectiveness whereas knowledge processes capabilities are only related to the efficiency of such transfer. Implications of our results for research and practice are also discussed.
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Knowledge transfer (k-transfer) is a process through which one entity is affected by the knowledge of another (Argote, Ingram, Levine, & Moreland, 2000). K-transfer, a key element of KM research, has been shown to play a critical role in increasing a company’s productivity and helping it gain a competitive advantage (Argote & Ingram, 2000; Szulanski, 2000). From a market perspective, the transfer of knowledge between two groups establishes a provider-receiver relationship. As might be inferred from Lin, Geng, and Whinston (2005) interdepartmental transfer of knowledge allows for mutual benefits and represents the knowledge market within a firm.

Although the issue of intra-firm k-transfer has been addressed already (Gruenfeld, Martorana, & Fan, 2000; Gupta & Govindarajan, 2000; Hansen, 1999; O’Dell, 1998), there is a lack of research in interdepartmental k-transfer, in particular during IT projects. This research gap is especially significant since most IT projects are cross functional and interdepartmental (Hoopes, 2001, Sharda, Franckwick, Deosthali & Delahoussaye, 1998). The present research attempts to narrow this gap by empirically investigating interdepartmental k-transfer success during IT projects. The most obvious knowledge asset of the IT department lies in the conception, development, and exploitation of IT applications that support the business processes, characteristically examples of tacit knowledge (Edvinsson & Malone, 1997). However, the IT-related managerial skills constitute knowledge that must be transferred to the client department (as explicit knowledge) during any project if IT is to contribute to creating and sustaining a competitive advantage (Mata, Fuerst, & Barney, 1995). This emphasizes the importance of investigating further how KM capabilities can be fostered to successfully conduct an IT project that suits the needs of another business unit.

A capability is the “firm’s capacity to deploy its assets” (Maritan, 2001, p. 514). KM capabilities characterize a firm’s ability to build upon its current knowledge to scan for and recognize the value of new information, assimilate it, and apply it in order to create new knowledge (Gold et al., 2001). More specifically, KM capabilities are developed through the processes of combining and exchanging knowledge to foster the creation of new ideas and resources. They are enabled by the presence of the knowledge infrastructure capabilities, which are leveraged by the critical knowledge processes capabilities (Gold et al., 2001).

The present research aims at answering the following research question: Are KM capabilities of an IT department related to the success of knowledge transfer to non-IT department during an IT project? Although different authors point out that various aspects of such capabilities are essential to achieving k-transfer success (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995; O’Dell, 1998), none of them have actually empirically tested interdepartmental knowledge transfer. Given that IT projects are knowledge intensive, it seems appropriate to assume that some form of deliberate management of knowledge should be present in both the development and the implementation processes of such projects.

This paper is structured as follows: first, the theoretical background is reviewed. Next, the research objectives, variables, hypotheses, and model are presented. The third section describes the methodology used for this research project. The data analysis is followed by a discussion of the results. The last section addresses the limitations and contributions of this study for practice and research and identifies future research avenues.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Murray E. Jennex
This is the third volume in the Advances in Knowledge Management and I thought it appropriate to start this volume with some reflection on where KM... Sample PDF
Reflections on Knowledge Management Research and Practice
Chapter 2
Peter Keen, Margaret Tan
The chapter proposes a simple framework termed ‘knowledge fusion’ to extend the rigor and relevance of knowledge management (KM). It points to some... Sample PDF
Knowledge Fusion: A Framework for Extending the Rigor and Relevance of Knowledge Management
Chapter 3
Hazel Taylor
This chapter explores the concept of ‘tacit knowledge’ and how organizations can foster the sharing and exchange of tacit knowledge. Various views... Sample PDF
Tapping Tacit Knowledge
Chapter 4
Andrea Hornett, Eric W. Stein
This chapter adds to our understanding of knowledge management as an evolving body of concepts, relationships, strategies and practices. Using... Sample PDF
Advances in Knowledge Management: Mapping Ideas that Shape Practice
Chapter 5
Clyde W. Holsapple, Kiku G. Jones
Just as Porter’s value chain model identifies classes of business activity that can be performed in ways that contribute to a firm’s... Sample PDF
Knowledge Chain Activity Classes: Impacts on Competitiveness and the Importance of Technology Support
Chapter 6
Rahinah Ibrahim, Mark E. Nissen
Tacit knowledge attenuates particularly quickly in organizations that experience discontinuous membership: the coming and going of organizational... Sample PDF
Developing a Knowledge-Based Organizational Performance Model for Improving Knowledge Flows in Discontinuous Organizations
Chapter 7
Frank Land, Urooj Amjad, Sevasti-Melissa Nolas
The purpose of this chapter is to argue the case that the study of Knowledge Management should embrace considerations of ethics and accountability.... Sample PDF
Accountability and Ethics in Knowledge Management
Chapter 8
Chay Yue Wah
The study aims to understand the social and organizational factors that influence knowledge sharing. A model of knowledge management and knowledge... Sample PDF
Social Capital and Knowledge Sharing in Knowledge-Based Organizations: An Empirical Study
Chapter 9
Charlie C. Chen, Rong-An Shang, Albert L. Harris, Zhi-Kai Chen
A knowledge management system (KMS) project transcends functional departments and business partners. The success of KMS implementation is highly... Sample PDF
A Structured Method for Evaluating the Management of a Knowledge Management System Implementation
Chapter 10
Murray E. Jennex, Stefan Smolnik, David T. Croasdell
This chapter explores knowledge management, KM, and knowledge management system, KMS, success. The inspiration for this chapter is the KM Success... Sample PDF
Toward a Consensus Knowledge Management Success Definition
Chapter 11
Elsa Rhoads, Kevin J. O'Sullivan, Michael Stankosky
This research chapter investigates the status of knowledge management (KM) practices implemented across federal agencies of the U.S. government. It... Sample PDF
An Evaluation of Factors that Influence the Success of Knowledge Management Practices in U.S. Federal Agencies
Chapter 12
Kevin Laframboise, Anne-Marie Croteau, Anne Beaudry, Mantas Manovas
This article reports on a study that investigates the knowledge transfer between an information systems/ technology (IS/IT) department and non-IT... Sample PDF
Interdepartmental Knowledge Transfer Success During Information Technology Projects
Chapter 13
Claudio Vitari, Jennifer Moro, Aurelio Ravarini, Isabelle Bourdon
The purpose of this chapter is to contribute to the improvement of the acceptance of information systems (IS) devoted to the codification and... Sample PDF
Improving KMS Acceptance: The Role of Organizational and Individuals' Influence
Chapter 14
Michael J. Zhang
While a great deal has been written about how information systems (IS) can be deployed to facilitate knowledge management for performance... Sample PDF
IS Support for Knowledge Management and Firm Performance: An Empirical Study
Chapter 15
Wei Li, Alexandre Ardichvili, Martin Maurer, Tim Wentling, Reed Stuedemann
The goal of this study was to explore how national (Chinese) culture influences knowledge sharing in virtual communities of practice at a large... Sample PDF
Chinese Culture and Virtual Knowledge Sharing in a Multinational Corporation
Chapter 16
Gilles Balmisse, Denis Meingan, Katia Passerini
In this chapter, we update earlier research on the state of the art Knowledge Management (KM) tools and present key evaluation criteria that can be... Sample PDF
Selecting the Right Knowledge Management Tools: Software Trends and Key Evaluation Criteria
Chapter 17
Jörg Rech, Raimund L. Feldmann, Eric Ras
Knowledge management is a relatively young discipline. It has accumulated a valuable body-of-knowledge on how to structure and represent knowledge... Sample PDF
Knowledge Patterns and Knowledge Refactorings for Increasing the Quality of Knowledge
Chapter 18
Paul Jackson, Ray Webster
This chapter is concerned with engaging end-users in the design and development of knowledge management systems. The identification, capture and use... Sample PDF
Knowledge Elicitation and Mapping: Ontology as an Instrument of Design and Organizational Learning
Chapter 19
Aurora Vizcaino, Juan Pablo Soto, Javier Portillo, Mario Piattini
Efforts to develop Knowledge Management have increased in recent years. However, many of the systems implanted in companies are still not greatly... Sample PDF
Helping to Develop Knowledge Management Systems by Using a Multi-Agent Approach
Chapter 20
Mirghani Mohamed, Michael Stankosky, Vincent Ribière
The purpose of this chapter is to examine the requirements of Knowledge Management (KM) services deployment in a Semantic Grid environment. A wide... Sample PDF
Adopting the Grid Computing & Semantic Web Hybrid for Global Knowledge Sharing
Chapter 21
Sineed Paisittanand, L. A. Digman, Sang M. Lee
The creation and the use of knowledge have increasingly been regarded as important issues for management. A wide range of studies have investigated... Sample PDF
The Effect of Knowledge Process Capabilities and Knowledge Infrastructure Capabilities on Strategy Implementation Effectiveness
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