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Debates around the nature of knowledge transfer: how well do we know about the construct?
Published in Emerald
2019
Volume: 50
   
Issue: 3
Pages: 409 - 425
Abstract
Purpose: Studies have shown that organizations that are capable of effectively transferring knowledge are often more productive than others. At the same time, there is increasing ambiguity regarding how the nature of knowledge transfer affects performance. The purpose of this paper is to review the literature on the nature of knowledge transfer and to understand why it remains a hindrance to most organizations, even now. This conceptual paper tries to identify the major debates surrounding the nature of knowledge transfer in an organization. The challenges and opportunities facing research on knowledge transfer are also elaborated. Design/methodology/approach: This conceptual paper is structured to first provide a brief summary of the construct of knowledge transfer and then provide a detailed account of research that highlights the major findings regarding the nature of knowledge transfer and their relation to the current themes. A selective review of the literature was carried out in this paper instead of a meta-analysis. The papers were identified through popular databases. The authors also examined the references of selected papers to provide a comprehensive review of the construct. Findings: The debate about codification of knowledge that has stimulated the academic community in organizational studies is still in its infancy. The other debates that have been discussed in this paper have either reached their peak or have given way to newer debates. A clear understanding of the significance of the nature of knowledge transfer is very important at this juncture. The model developed toward the end of the paper assumes a path in this direction. The authors also discuss how research on knowledge has both deepened and expanded the authors' understanding of knowledge transfer since March and Simon (1958). Originality/value: The debate in the field of organizational studies around the nature of knowledge transfer has been occurring for some time. However, there has not been any final consensus on the nature of knowledge transfer. While looking at these debates with a critical eye, the authors may appear to be cynical about the prospect of an end to these deliberations. The authors conclude the paper with a model that examines knowledge transfer from a broader perspective that encompasses the various theoretical perspectives.
About the journal
JournalVINE Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems
PublisherEmerald
ISSN2059-5891
Open AccessNo