The impact of unique characteristics of projects and project-based organisations on knowledge transfer

Wiewiora, Anna, Trigunarsyah, Bambang, Murphy, Glen D., Gable, Guy G., & Liang, Chen (2009) The impact of unique characteristics of projects and project-based organisations on knowledge transfer. In 10th European Conference on Knowledge Management, 3-4 September 2009, Università Degli Studi Di Padova, Vicenza, Italy.


Knowledge has been recognised as an important organisational asset that increases in value when shared; the opposite to other organisational assets which decrease in value during their exploitation. Effective knowledge transfer in organisations helps to achieve and maintain competitive advantage and ultimately organisational success. So far, the research on knowledge transfer has focused on traditional (functional) organisations. Only recently has attention been directed towards knowledge transfer in projects. Existing research on project learning has recognised the need for knowledge transfer within and across projects in project-based organisations (PBOs). Most projects can provide valuable new knowledge from unexpected actions, approaches or problems experienced during the project phases. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the impact of unique projects characteristics on knowledge transfer in PBO. This is accomplished through review of the literature and a series of interviews with senior project practitioners. The interviews complement the findings from the literature. Knowledge transfer in projects occurs by social communication and transfer of lessons learned where project management offices (PMOs) and project managers play significant roles in enhancing knowledge transfer and communication within the PBO and across projects. They act as connectors between projects and the PBO ‘hub’. Moreover, some project management processes naturally facilitate knowledge transfer across projects. On the other hand, PBOs face communication challenges due to unique and temporary characteristics of projects. The distance between projects and the lack or weakness of formal links across projects, create communication problems that impede knowledge transfer across projects. The main contribution of this paper is to demonstrate that both social communication and explicit informational channels play important role in inter-project knowledge transfer. Interviews also revealed the important role organisational culture play in knowledge transfer in PBOs.

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ID Code: 25857
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: knowledge transfer, lessons learned, project-based organisation (PBO), social communication, organisational culture, project management office (PMO)
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > CIVIL ENGINEERING (090500) > Infrastructure Engineering and Asset Management (090505)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Research Centres > CRC Integrated Engineering Asset Management (CIEAM)
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > School of Information Systems
Current > Schools > School of Management
Past > Schools > School of Urban Development
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 please contact the authors
Deposited On: 30 Jun 2009 05:38
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:56

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