Knowledge sharing between project teams and its cultural antecedents

Julia Mueller (Assistant Professor at the Department of Strategic Management, Martin‐Luther‐University Halle‐Wittenberg, Halle, Germany)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Publication date: 25 May 2012



The aim of this article is to provide insights into how knowledge sharing between project teams takes place (if formal channels are not provided) and which cultural antecedents influence this process.


The author adopts a qualitative research design using a triangulation of methods (interviews, observations, company data and group discussions) to receive detailed results for one case study.


The findings show that knowledge sharing between project teams takes place even though top‐management did not include these processes in the formal work organization. Project team leaders as well as members share knowledge with other project teams by transferring boundary objects, interchanging team members and directly interacting. Furthermore, this study confirms some elements of a knowledge culture, but also discovers new cultural elements that are favorable and unfavorable to knowledge sharing between teams, such as personal responsibility, intrinsic motivation, top‐management's trust in employees, and output orientation.

Research limitations/implications

Despite the fact that only one case study could be researched with this level of detail, the results provide insights into a research area neglected thus far and show that not all knowledge processes depend on the same cultural antecedents.

Practical implications

Managers and team leaders learn that knowledge sharing between project teams enhances the efficiency of project work and organizational learning.


This study addresses a specific knowledge process, namely knowledge sharing between project teams, and discovers that specific cultural antecedents support and hinder this type of cross‐boundary knowledge sharing process.



Mueller, J. (2012), "Knowledge sharing between project teams and its cultural antecedents", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 435-447.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below

You may be able to access this content by logging in via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.
If you think you should have access to this content, click the button to contact our support team.