Original Research

A review of knowledge transfer tools in knowledge-intensive organisations

Alfred H. Mazorodze, Sheryl Buckley
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 22, No 1 | a1135 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v22i1.1135 | © 2020 Alfred H. Mazorodze, Sheryl Buckley | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 July 2019 | Published: 09 October 2020

About the author(s)

Alfred H. Mazorodze, School of Computing, College of Science, Engineering and Technology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Sheryl Buckley, School of Computing, College of Science, Engineering and Technology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Knowledge transfer is very important in knowledge-intensive organisations in both developed and developing countries. A knowledge-intensive organisation is an organisation whose operations depend on specialised knowledge. Knowledge-intensive organisations lose intellectual property when experienced employees retire from their jobs. To avoid knowledge loss, skills and expertise should be transferred from experts to non-experts on time. Knowledge transfer tools allow sharing of tacit knowledge between and amongst staff members. The study provides an analysis and review of the most effective knowledge transfer tools in knowledge-intensive organisations because an organisation’s success is based on its ability to transfer knowledge.

Objectives: The study had two main objectives: to identify and review knowledge transfer tools used in knowledge-intensive organisations and to recommend the best knowledge transfer tool that can be used in organisations for the purpose of enhanced competitive advantage.

Method: A well-structured questionnaire was used to collect quantitative data from the research participants in knowledge-intensive organisations in Namibia.

Results: The results indicate that the most effective knowledge transfer tool in knowledge-intensive organisations is a community of practice; 40% of the participants considered the tool effective, and 27% considered it to be very effective. This was followed by the mentoring tool, which was ranked 54% effective and 11% very effective by the participants because it exposes mentees to new ideas and new ways of thinking. Storytelling was ranked 28% effective and 17% very effective because it is a natural learning process. Succession plans were ranked 21% effective and 12% very effective because having succession plans in place on time is essential for organisational success. Coaching and knowledge repositories were ranked below 20% on knowledge transfer effectiveness. From the findings, we conclude that the most effective tool for knowledge transfer in knowledge-intensive organisations is communities of practice (CoP) followed by mentoring, storytelling, succession plans, coaching and finally knowledge repositories.

Conclusion: The most effective knowledge transfer tool in knowledge-intensive organisations is Communities of Practice, followed by mentoring, storytelling, succession plans and lastly coaching. Communities of Practice are important for knowledge transfer in that they encourage and promote teamwork through discussions and knowledge sharing amongst employees. The study therefore recommends the creation of such Communities of Practice in knowledge-intensive organisations for effective knowledge transfer and sharing.


Keywords

communities of practice; coaching; knowledge repositories; knowledge transfer; mentoring; storytelling; succession planning.

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