Project Management Institute

Knowledge transfer in project-based organizations

an organizational culture perspective

The survival of a project-based organization (PBO) hinges not only on its capability to perform well but also on its success in transferring lessons learned and knowledge gained. This article examines how successful PBOs effectively manage knowledge, looking specifically at how organizational culture affects a PBO's process of knowledge transfer. In doing so, it defines the concept and the types of knowledge and the goal and the process of generating knowledge; it discusses the three perspectives of knowledge flow and the three types of PBOs. It explains the dynamics involved when a project team attempts to generate new knowledge and transfer the knowledge they have learned from implementing projects; it describes the challenges involved after an organization establishes enterprise-wide knowledge-capturing practices, identifying three types of commonly used knowledgebases and three categories of project-related knowledge. It also names the obstacles which commonly hinder PBO efforts to transfer knowledge. It then details how organizational culture affects the way a company internally transfers the knowledge it generates from projects, listing two fundamental dimensions of organizational culture, four types of organizational cultures, and three levels of transferring knowledge within PBOs.
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