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The influence of organizational design on knowledge transfer

Víctor Martín‐Pérez (Associate Professor in the Business Department, Business School, University of Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain)
Natalia Martín‐Cruz (Associate Professor in the Business Department, Business School, University of Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain)
Isabel Estrada‐Vaquero (PhD Candidate in the Business Department, Business School, University of Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 25 May 2012

2905

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how organizational design – particularly, delegation, and extrinsic and intrinsic reward systems – impacts employees' knowledge transfer in the context of Spanish small nonprofit organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative analysis using data from a sample of 105 Spanish small nonprofit organizations obtained by means of a postal survey was performed using the partial least squares (PLS) approach, in order to test the research hypotheses.

Findings

The research findings show that delegation involves a greater use of rewards and these, in turn, improve knowledge transfer. Considering the results obtained it is possible to conclude that, due to lack of technical knowledge, managers of these nonprofit organizations must delegate decision rights to qualified employees and that they should use a higher degree of rewards, both intrinsic and extrinsic, especially the intrinsic ones, to motivate employees to mutually transfer knowledge efficiently.

Research limitations/implications

This research is focused on Spanish small nonprofit organizations, and recommendations to other nonprofit organizations must, therefore, be very cautious. However, this study provides empirical insights, linking organizational design and knowledge transfer in the nonprofit context.

Practical implications

Besides the importance of promoting knowledge transfer through an efficient and effective organizational design in nonprofit organizations, the authors recommend managers design mechanisms to convert tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge, to guarantee that knowledge remains in the organization. Also, the authors consider that managers should make an effort to create an appropriate environment – by means of reward systems, especially intrinsic rewards – so that employees are committed to the mission and objectives of the organization.

Originality/value

Few empirical studies have analyzed the influence of organizational design on knowledge transfer in the context of nonprofit organizations, even though the nonprofit sector has reached a great importance for their economical and social role in society.

Keywords

Citation

Martín‐Pérez, V., Martín‐Cruz, N. and Estrada‐Vaquero, I. (2012), "The influence of organizational design on knowledge transfer", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 418-434. https://doi.org/10.1108/13673271211238742

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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