For our evidence based practice assignment I chose the topic of knowledge transfer. Our assignment was as follows:
- Define the problem
- What does the practitioner world have to say
- What does the world of science have to say
- What conclusion/solution/actions can be drawn
We were supposed to do this in order, I skipped step 1 initially, mainly because I had a thought up problem. I decided to rather do the research then make up a problem that fitted the research I found to make it relevant. Not technically correct, but it lead to a very interesting assignment. I found it interesting enough to at least post about it. Attached below you will find the full document, I will highlight the main points and do an executive summary for the blog post so you do not have to read through the whole thing.
Firstly the problem was to determine through what mechanisms does effective knowledge transfer occur through the lens of the information technology sector. The underlying assumption is that it is done effectively, knowledge transfer will give a competitive edge to a firm. The firm will also be enabled to be more agile than previous. Much more information on the problem can be found in the document.
For the world of the practitioner I looked at 6 blog posts and came up with the following CIMO model. [A CIMO model is where you identify the mechanism (M) by which an intervention (I) will lead to a defined outcome (O) given a certain context (C)].
There are two reinforcing loops:
- Trust increases the Receiver Involvement which aids in Knowledge Identification, leading to further Trust in the knowledge.
- Trust enables Willingness to Share which increases Receiver Involvement which aids in Knowledge Identification, leading to further Trust in the knowledge.
From the world of science I looked at 3 highly cited journal articles on knowledge transfer and came up with the following synthesised CIMO model (there was a CIMO done per paper).
Here trust plays a strong lever for facilitating knowledge transfer. It will aid in decreasing an arduous relationship which aids in increasing motivation and collaboration. An arduous relationship is synonym for a bad relationship between the receiver and source and the motivation is towards wanting to learn and wanting to teach. An arduous relationship was found to be statistically significant in knowledge transfer as well as shared understanding between the receiver and source.
The above models were then combined to form the final CIMO model.
The core mechanism is extracted below.
So I gave the model some fictional context, as this is not based on any organisation and is fictional. Normally you would add your own context to the model and see where your context applies. Then you will decide on what interventions to take based on your context. You should then be able see how your interventions should lead to your desired outcome and through what mechanisms.
- The consultants have low communication encoding abilities
- There is a low level of shared understanding between the consultants and the employees
- The employees have a low stock of knowledge from which to draw
- There is no cross?functional collaboration
- There is low involvement in the knowledge transfer process on the side of the employees
- There is a lack of trust in the consultants knowledge of the subject matter
- There are low trust levels with the whole knowledge transfer process
- There are no learning outcomes or goals identified for transfer
- There is a general lack of motivation for employees to learn
- There is a low level of intrinsic motivation with employees
- The firm’s reward system only remunerates financial performance
- There is a bad relationship between the consultants and the employees
- There is a general lack of understanding with the best practices of the system
Based on the grim context set, here are the suggested interventions (please not that these are for a given context and are not blanket rules to be applied):
- Select consultants with a high level of communication encoding abilities
- Systematically understand and communicate best practices
- Get the consultants and employees to conduct problem solving exercises together
- Adopt a project methodology
- Align the employees training programs with similar ones to those which the consultants have been on
The above interventions will impact the shared understanding between consultants and employees, which as discussed earlier will bootstrap the mechanism. Once the mechanism is in process it would be wise to target high leverage points. Thus addressing knowledge identification coupled with trust and motivation we get the next set of actions:
- The consultants should be provided training on how to effectively transfer knowledge
- The consultants should be selected that have implemented their assigned modules on at least threeother projects
- The leaders need to consistently address a philosophy of openness
- The consultants should be able to deconstruct the employees work into specific skills that can betested
- The consultants and employees should be guided by identifiable goals
- The training should be focused into a set of topics organised by theme
- The consultants need to quiz the employees on the knowledge they are imparting
- The employees should be empowered to take action with the knowledge gained
- Intrinsically motivated employees should be selected for knowledge transfer
- The reward system should include knowledge sharing?, co?operating? and teamwork?activities
By taking the above actions the mechanism will be geared towards increasing collaboration and reducing the arduous relationship between the consultants and employees. The next action would be to strengthen the collaboration and foster a better relationship between the employees and consultants:
- An environment needs to be created where the consultants and employees interact frequently
- Attention needs to be given to foster a closer relationship between the consultants and employees
- Organisational design should encourage horizontal communication
- Cross functional teams should be formed regularly
- The internal employees must perform the software demonstrations, design reviews and management presentations
- The firms employees need to be first line support post go?live
All of the above recommendations address the context that the firm is faced with when it comes to knowledge transfer and the model can explain how these interventions will eventually lead to increased knowledge transfer.
Download the whole assignment: EBP.Final.Assignment (2,151MB)