- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In today‘s knowledge-based economy, one of the major sources of competitive advantage has been the ability of the firm to transfer external knowledge efficiently and effectively. Knowledge transfer is defined by Kumar and Ganesh (2009) as activities of exchanging explicit or tacit knowledge between two agents, during which one agent receive and apply the knowledge provided by the other agent. The agents could be an individual, team/department or an organization (Joshi et al., 2007). In the literature, knowledge transfer has been given various but related labels such as knowledge sharing, knowledge flows‘, knowledge acquisition and knowledge mobilization‘(Carmel and Nicholson, 2005; Gosain, 2007; Renzl, 2008; van Wijk et al, 2008). Knowledge transfer management enables the organisation of knowledge within a company. According to Alavi and Leidner (2015) knowledge management is a complete and organisationally specified process for acquiring, organising, and communicating both tacit and explicit knowledge so that others can use that knowledge to become more effective and productive. Knowledge transfer is a part of the knowledge management process that enables transfer of knowledge to locations where it is needed and can be used (Bhatt 2015). However, scholars recently refer to knowledge transfer in a broader context as the process through which one unit (e.g., group, department, or division) is affected by the experience of another (Argote and Ingram 2009), focusing not only on knowledge communication per se, but also the application of knowledge (see also: Levin and Cross 2011; Szulanski 2015). Research on project learning, and practitioners have both indicated the need for knowledge transfer within and between projects (Baccarini 2012; Bower and Walker 2007; Kotnour 2012). Despite a project’s uniqueness, project experiences can be reused in other projects, providing valuable lessons. For this reason, it is important to share knowledge across projects in order to avoid unnecessary reinventions of what has been already done (Carrillo 2005). Project-based organisations (PBOs) face serious knowledge needs in their projects. They tend to repeat the same mistakes too often because of the lack of effective knowledge transfer which could potentially be found in other projects within the same organisation (Desouza and Evaristo 2006; Landaeta 2008). Poor performance of knowledge transfer results in knowledge being wasted and unsuitable for reuse in other related projects. Lack of efficient knowledge transfer causes, in effect, unnecessary reinventions, errors, and time wastage. Partnering, as a collaborative managerial approach, is considered as a potential tool for enhancing the efficiency of the construction industry, introducing collaboration and, consequently, tangible benefits in projects. At the same time, other authors claimed for the adoption of a knowledge-based project management approach that could support the achievement of higher project performance. Naturally, the awareness towards these topics has become increasingly important, especially within the construction sector that is generally characterized by adversarial relationships and conflicting goals between the project participants. The adoption of collaborative relationships between the project participants along with the implementation of an effective knowledge transfer process could be the formula for the achievement of successful projects outcomes. In addition to this, an inducement for improvement could emerge when the link between effective knowledge transfer and successful partnering projects is understood. Despite the presence of several studies concerning both the topic of partnering and knowledge transfer separately, there are a limited number of academic contributions that actually investigate the link between the two. Considering the practical relevance of these research areas, this study represents an attempt to narrow the knowledge gap, analyzing how knowledge transfer and partnering influence each other.
- STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
For more than a decade, lessons learnt from projects have received much attention in practice and research (Hartmann and Doree, 2014). Numerous studies of project‐based organisations have been conducted to identify barriers and enablers for learning from projects (e.g. Holzmann, 2013; Kumaraswamy and Thorpe, 1996). Yet despite the efforts made, progress in improving the learning from projects appears to be slight. Besides identifying problems and difficulties in cross‐project knowledge, previous studies investigated a number of tools for extracting and disseminating lessons learned (Hartmann and Doree, 2014). The majority of these studies, often implicitly, argue particularly that knowledge is a transferrable commodity accounts for the little observable progress in understanding and enhancing project learning activities, thus Project‐based organisations seem to be caught in the learning paradox of projects (Bakker et al., 2011). There has been a variety of studies on the effects of knowledge transfer in project management but unfortunately, the existing empirical studies do not individually provide definitive answers on the relationship between knowledge transfer and project‐ based organisation. The conclusions drawn are broadly similar but the problem remains that they are mostly qualitative and they may suffer from what Stanley (2015) calls “casual methodological speculation.” therefore, based usually on opinion, and analyses are made largely from subjective interpretation of the available evidence.
- AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine knowledge transfer management in public private partnership projects. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the predominant knowledge transfer barriers and the leading knowledge transfer channels in project‐based organisations.
2. To examine the influence of knowledge transfer and partnering in projects.
3. To examine the effect of knowledge transfer management on public private partnership projects.
4. To examine partnering key elements that enhances effective knowledge transfer.
5. To examine the relationship between knowledge transfer management and public private partnership projects.
6. To examine knowledge transfer challenges in project‐based organisations.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What are the predominant knowledge transfer barriers and the leading knowledge transfer channels in project‐based organisations?
2. How does knowledge transfer and partnering in projects influence each other?
3. What are the effects of knowledge transfer management on public private partnership projects?
4. What are the partnering key elements that enhance effective knowledge transfer?
5. What is the relationship between knowledge transfer management and public private partnership projects?
6. What are knowledge transfer challenges in project‐based organisations?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H01: There is no effect of knowledge transfer management on public private partnership projects.
H02: There is no significant relationship between knowledge transfer management and public private partnership projects.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The proposed research is significant in that it provides a list of barriers specific to Project Based Organizations that hinder knowledge transfer across projects, and offer recommendations on how to overcome some of these barriers, and ensure effective knowledge transfer and better project management. Thus, the study assists employees and employers to put forward mechanisms and strategies relevant for enhancing knowledge transfer. Furthermore, this study is also an important part for the researcher‘s master degree accomplishment and knowledge generation.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on knowledge transfer management in public private partnership projects in Nigeria, a case study of the Nigeria standard gauge railway modernization projects.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (net, questionnaire and view).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Knowledge: Is available information that is new to the people or organizations for whom it is intended; it includes research findings, prevention guides, manufacturing processes, work methods, and innovations (Roy et al., 1995).
Transfer: The concept of transfer is characterized by the impreciseness and vagueness of its semantic boundaries. In psychoanalysis, transfer is the extension of an effective state from one person to another person to another or to an object, while education specialists considers it as a displacement of knowledge from a source context (learning) to a target context (utilization).
Management: “A mechanism for disseminating, appropriating and utilizing new knowledge for adopting new individual and organizational behaviours”.