Academic journal article International Journal of Management

An Empirical Study of the Knowledge Transfer Methods Used by Clinical Instructors

Academic journal article International Journal of Management

An Empirical Study of the Knowledge Transfer Methods Used by Clinical Instructors

Article excerpt

Many studies have focused on intra or inter organizational knowledge transfer, whereas individual job performance is relevant to the goals of the organization, there is little research regarding knowledge transfer at the individual level. This research utilizes the nursing profession to explore individual knowledge transfer. Initially, we interviewed 17 clinical instructors to discover the knowledge transfer methods used during nursing clinical practice. These interviews were summarized into 33 short statements. After developing the final questionnaire, we found 10 experts to judge and assign each statement based on how it related to knowledge transfer. Context, Direct Instruction, Interaction, Experience and Imagination were then explored as five individual knowledge transfer methods.


In past studies, many papers discussed intra- or inter-organizational knowledge transfer. Gupta & Govindarajan (2000) studied knowledge flows within multinational corporations. Lyles & SaIk (1996) focused on knowledge acquisition from foreign partners in international joint ventures. Griffith et a]. (2001) analyzed knowledge transfer as a means for relationship development under international joint ventures. Tsai (2001) utilized the unit centrality in the network and the absorptive capacity to discuss intraorganizational knowledge transfer. However, little research has analyzed knowledge transfer at the individual level.

Dougherty (1999) argued that knowledge exists only because of people. Information becomes knowledge only when one combines the information with his personal experience. It is possible to become knowledgeable when information has been digested and thought over in a person's mind. Although there is much data available around us, an individual interprets data through information, adopts it and utilizes it to create knowledge.

Most research on knowledge transfer focuses on the point of view of the organization. Few studies mentioned individual knowledge transfer. Knowledge transfer in an organization should involve transfer at the individual level. Darr and Kurtzberg (2000) stated that knowledge transfer implies individuals within one organization advising individuals from another organization on certain problems and procedures. Because individuals contribute much to an organization, it is necessary to understand how knowledge could be transferred between individuals and recognize the methods of knowledge transfer.

Importance of Knowledge

Sternberg (1997) defined knowledge as a highly personal, subjective form of knowledge, that is usually informal and can be gathered from the statements of others. Pascarella (1997) mentioned that knowledge could steadily increase corporate assets, such as management systems, brand identity, customer information and corporate reputation. Knowledge drives the bottom line although it seems invisible.

Wah (1999) stated that 99 percent of the work that people do is knowledge based. Knowledge is a highly personal asset and includes pooled expertise and the efforts of networks and alliances. Stewart (1997) expressed that although knowledge assets are as valuable as money or equipment, it exists and is worth refining when in the context of the strategy used to apply it. These researchers regarded knowledge as a treasure as it holds the key to organizational success.

Classification of Knowledge

There are many ways to classify knowledge according to the previously mentioned research. However, the most popular classification is explicit and tacit knowledge (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995). Many researchers have given definitions of explicit and tacit knowledge. Howells ( 1996) defined tacit knowledge as non-codified, disembodied expertise that is acquired via the informal up-take of learned behavior and procedures. Nonaka et al. (2000) defined explicit knowledge as the knowledge that "can be expressed in formal and systematic language and shared in the form of data, scientific formulae, specifications, manuals and the like". …

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