Knowledge Transfer and The Timing of Information Technology Methods : A study within six organizations in Sweden during the COVID-19 pandemic

University essay from Högskolan i Gävle/Företagsekonomi; Högskolan i Gävle/Företagsekonomi

Abstract: Abstract  Title: Information Technology and the Timing of Knowledge Transfer Methods: A study within six organizations in Sweden  Level: Master Thesis for Master’s Degree in Business Administration Author: Anna Thorsell and Filip LarssonSupervisor: Daniella FjellströmExaminer: Ehsanul Huda Chowdhury  Date: 2021 June  Aim: It has been stated that knowledge transfer processes fail due to poorly timed transfer methods and that it is of importance to understand underlying mechanisms of transfer. It has also been argued that information technology (IT) systems can increase knowledge transfer in organizations. This study aims to research the influence IT has on the timing of transfer methods and knowledge transfer. The authors of this study discovered a gap for the use and timing of IT transfer methods and its influence on knowledge transfer within organizations in existing research.  Method: This study included the use of secondary data from a literature review, as well as primary data using a qualitative research method with an inductive approach as semi- structured in-depth interviews were conducted for a multi-case study. The interviews were held with individuals working in six organizations in Sweden. Phases of analysis including content analysis and data coding were used for the analysis and reporting of the data collected.  Findings and Conclusion: The study showed that IT provides platforms for knowledge transfer through different types of IT and IT transfer methods used. That the type of IT chosen can depend on the urgency of the transfer, what type of knowledge is transferred as well as the amount of knowledge transferred. That the timing of IT transfer methods I can speed up knowledge transfer as it enables the transfer to happen faster and in later stages of the transfer process due to providing direct knowledge transfer channels and accessible knowledge to all members of a team. It was shown that IT transfer methods can influence internal stickiness, decrease causal ambiguity and reduce the knowledge barrier of arduous relationships as well as influence the use of front-loading and back- loading modes of transfer. That the urgency of transfer can be a determining factor for the modes used rather than the level of causal ambiguity of the knowledge.  Contribution of the Study: This study contributes to studies on types of IT and IT transfer methods used in organizations for knowledge transfer. It adds to existing research on timing of knowledge transfer methods including both explicit and tacit knowledge, as well as adding the influence of IT on the timing of knowledge transfer methods, knowledge transfer, internal stickiness, knowledge barriers and affordance of interaction. It provides new findings to the timing of knowledge transfer from the timing of types of IT and IT transfer methods used based on the urgency of transfer and what type of knowledge that is being transferred. The study contributes to highlighting the value of IT for the management of knowledge transfer within organizations, especially due to global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The study provides a basis for managers to examine their use of IT for knowledge transfer in organizations. It also showcases the continuous increased need for effective knowledge transfer processes between organizations, people and across locations and how IT can facilitate that.  Study Reflections and Suggestions for Future Research: This study included individuals from six organizations. It is suggested to include more participants for future studies as well as investigating teams, departments and organizations on narrow as well as on broader levels in different sectors to gain deeper insight into the field. Further research on how the urgency of transfer affects the modes of transfer used is also advised.  Keywords: Knowledge, Knowledge Transfer, Methods of Transfer, Timing, Modes of Transfer, Internal Stickiness, Information Technology, COVID-19 

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