Although knowledge transfer is generally conceived as a two‐way process in which knowledge is transferred to and from the knowledge source, research has tended to focus on the first part of the process and neglect the second part. This study aims to examine the feedback loop and how knowledge is transferred from the knowledge receiver to the knowledge source.
The paper relies on interviews and archival records to conduct an in‐depth case study of cross‐border knowledge transfer work carried out by a Canadian non‐profit organization.
The paper finds that by learning about receivers' knowledge, background and learning styles, as well as their social context or learning environment, such as language, culture, tradition and history, “source” persons are in fact able to acquire for themselves valuable new knowledge. This in turn assists both the source and receiver to establish shared understandings, thereby facilitating a more effective knowledge transfer thus enhancing learning for both the source and receiver.
Given that this is a case study of one organization, the findings of this study may not be readily generalizable to other organizations, or settings. Despite this limitation, the study raises some important questions for further investigation and contributes to existing research on intercultural knowledge transfer.
Individuals involved in knowledge transfer who pay attention to the feedback loop can better perform their roles and also improve their knowledge.
It has been acknowledged in the literature that expatriates engage in extensive learning while transferring knowledge in their overseas assignments. However, little research has examined what they have learned, how they learn, and the benefits of such learning. This research suggests that knowledge sources can enhance their own knowledge as well as improve knowledge transfer to recipients by nurturing feedback loops.
Chen, F., Bapuji, H., Dyck, B. and Wang, X. (2012), "I learned more than I taught: the hidden dimension of learning in intercultural knowledge transfer", The Learning Organization, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 109-120. https://doi.org/10.1108/09696471211201470Download as .RIS
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