Control mechanisms and knowledge integration in exploitative project teams: a case study from the coal fired power plant industry

Paolo Canonico (Assistant Professor in the Dipartimento di Economia Aziendale, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Napoli, Italy)
Ernesto De Nito (Associate Professor in the Dipartimento di Scienze Giuridiche, Storiche, Economiche e Sociali, Università degli Studi Magna Græcia di Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Italy)
Gianluigi Mangia (Associate Professor in the Dipartimento di Economia Aziendale, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Napoli, Italy)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Publication date: 13 July 2012

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to deal with knowledge integration in projects, focusing on teams that deal with exploitative nature of knowledge work and implement standard solutions with minor refinements developed over time. In the research the authors seek to analyze how the organizational control mechanisms adopted within project teams that deal with exploitative nature of knowledge work influence knowledge integration outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

The research unfolded considering a single case study, as this approach was considered useful in gaining in‐depth, holistic understanding of the phenomenon studied. The authors started with a preliminary on‐site observation done with the aim of making subsequent interviews simpler and more productive. They therefore conducted semi‐structured interviews with the head of human resources and with two project managers and four members of two project teams.

Findings

The results show how in coherence with Grant's classification it is possible to argue that in this context the main control mechanism to integrate knowledge is provided by different forms of standardization. In the case of the company under investigation, formal control mechanisms based on a calculative approach are seen as a way to rule out the process of product delivery and enable effective knowledge integration by clarifying tasks and responsibilities.

Originality/value

This paper witnesses that, in exploitative project teams, formal control mechanisms may play the role of administering information exchange in order to achieve projects outcome and the desired level of knowledge integration.

Keywords

Citation

Canonico, P., De Nito, E. and Mangia, G. (2012), "Control mechanisms and knowledge integration in exploitative project teams: a case study from the coal fired power plant industry", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 538-549. https://doi.org/10.1108/13673271211246121

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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