Organizational learning in higher education institutions depends upon the ability of managers and academics to maintain a flow of knowledge across the structural boundaries of the university. This paper aims to understand the boundary conditions that foster or impede the flow of knowledge during organizational change at a large public university.
Interview data were collected from 51 academics and 40 managers at the selected university. The analysis focused on two initiatives that managers sought to implement to improve organizational performance.
For one of these initiatives, managers engaged in knowledge transformation that enabled managers and academics to learn and collaborate across group boundaries. For the other initiative, managers relied on knowledge transfer practices, which failed to establish productive cross-boundary interactions to support organizational learning.
When seeking to implement new initiatives to enhance institutional performance, university managers and academics can view organizational change as a learning process that involves creating and moving knowledge across organizational boundaries. Under conditions of change, the creation and movement of knowledge may require the development of new structures and the use of communications that have a high level of media richness.
This study provides one of the first empirical investigations of knowledge sharing dynamics during organizational change in a higher education setting.
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