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

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Keywords

Citation

Mueller, J. (2012), "Knowledge sharing between project teams and its cultural antecedents", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 435-447. https://doi.org/10.1108/13673271211238751

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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