Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Management Studies

The Study of Relationship between Work Teams and Favoring Knowledge Management (Case: Bank Keshavarzi)

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Management Studies

The Study of Relationship between Work Teams and Favoring Knowledge Management (Case: Bank Keshavarzi)

Article excerpt

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Introduction

The worldwide economy has shifted from an industrial manufacturing/ product-oriented economy to one based on knowledge and services, where the principle commodity is information or knowledge. Effective management of intellectual capital is a critical issue challenging organizations in today's global and knowledge-driven economy (Walczak, 2005).

In contrast to the traditional emphasis on external factors to explain organizational success (Porter, 1985), recent strategic management literature has focused on internal resources (Miller and Shamise, 1996). Some authors, such as Grant (1996b) and Nonaka et al (2001), claim that knowledge is the main source of sustainable competitive advantage. If we review the specialist literature in search of models of knowledge management that can help companies to take full advantage of that resource, we will find that the activity must center on three specific aspects. First, it is necessary to create the resource. Knowledge, by definition is buried in the minds of individuals (Fahey and Prusak, 1998; Grant, 1996a; Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995) and therefore, those individuals are responsible for its creation. Secondly, the knowledge that has been created by each of the individuals within the organization will have to be transferred from those individuals to others in order to be shared. Thirdly, those separate pieces of knowledge, once transferred and received, will have to be integrated and thus become one mass of knowledge (Zarraga and Falcon, 2003).

So, we can conceptualize knowledge management as a process which its input is the individual knowledge of a person, which is created, transferred and integrated in work teams within the company, while its output is organizational knowledge, a source of competitive advantage (see figure 1). Along those lines, Grant (1997) states that many current tendencies in organizational design may be interpreted as attempts to access and integrate the tacit knowledge of members of an organization, while at the same time recognizing the barriers to transferring that knowledge. This reflects the need for a close interdependence between specialists in order to integrate their know-how (Grant, 2001).

Subject presentation

Knowledge management is a process that not only has been noticed by organizations recently, but it has also generated great changes in the business world. In order favoring knowledge management, some of researchers emphasized on team work. The management practice field shows that the past two decades have witnessed a dramatic increase in the use of work teams. From Grant's (1997, 2001) point of view, this new tendency of organizational design could be considered a way to access the tacit knowledge of the organizational members and so a way to create the appropriate context for knowledge management. However, for individual knowledge to become organizational knowledge, it is not sufficient to organize the firm around work teams (Zarraga and Perez, 2006).

In consequence, the fundamental question of the research is: What is the relationship between the work team and knowledge management?

So, our hypothesis is that the knowledge management process does not happen in just any work team, but only in one with the especial characteristics. So, the first objective is to identify the characteristics that a work team needs to favor knowledge management. Then, the second objective is to test empirically how those characteristics exercise a favorable influence on knowledge management, which is conceptualized as a process of creation (C), transfer (T) and integration (I) of the work team members' knowledge. The rest of the paper is organized as it follows.

The next section develops the theoretical background for the paper. The third section describes the methodology used to test the hypotheses empirically. Finally, the main conclusions are given based on the results obtained. …

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