This study aims to identify and compare the knowledge and information retrieval needs from past projects and for future work among Italian and Japanese engineers. Engineering work, which is knowledge-intensive, is all the more critical as it both uses and generates knowledge for product and process innovation.
This research uses data collected from engineers in Italy and Japan from an online survey using open-ended questions in their native language. Answers were then translated into English and coded into pre-determined categories; statistical analyses including factor analysis were conducted.
For knowledge to be retrieved from past work, both Italian and Japanese engineers identified mainly experiential and systemic knowledge assets. For knowledge to be captured for future work, both groups picked experiential as well as conceptual knowledge related to the competitive environment of the firm absent from knowledge needs from past work. Finally, this research uncovered almost twice as fewer meta-categories for knowledge needs to be captured for future work compared to knowledge to be retrieved from past projects, as the former are by nature speculative and, therefore, difficult to foresee.
The study is limited to the engineering domain and to two countries. Further research should extend the scope beyond these two countries.
The study identified information and knowledge needs that could help inform the design of procedures to capture and document engineering work and the development of supporting information systems.
This research contributes to an increased understanding of the substance of information and knowledge needs in a knowledge-intensive environment such as engineering work and product/service development.
Secundo, G., Magnier-Watanabe, R. and Heisig, P. (2015), "Engineering knowledge and information needs in Italy and Japan: bridging the gap between theory and practice", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 19 No. 6, pp. 1310-1334. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-01-2015-0029Download as .RIS
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