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Effect of Knowledge Transfer on Organisational Learning

Disclaimer: This dissertation has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional dissertation writers. You can view samples of our professional work here.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays.


I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to my supervisor Dr Zahra Salimi, for her valuable pragmatic advice and outstanding guidance during this research.

I'm particularly thankful to all my staff for their constant support from frome work viewpoint that has allowed me to complete this research.

Many thanks to Papyrus organisation, management and employees who have participate.

Finally, I would like to thank my wife Nashmeel who has been extremely supportive and patient during the time of my studies, this is dedicated to her and my boys Ayman, Shkar, and Ahmad.


The concept of knowledge management has attracted widespread interest and has been the subject of study from numerous practitioners and researchers over a long period of time. There is strong believes among world business that knowledge management is one of the most important factor for success of organisations, Romer, (1993). Therefore as individuals fail to gain employment within both formal and informal sectors, the idea of having one's own business becomes more competitive and attractive (Aderemi et al.2008). Business leaders and managers within the printing industry for example, face an increasing threat from the growing capabilities of the internet (and its related technologies) and their influence on how traditional business models find an alternative strategy for their business operation. (Andrew,1998) cited in, Cope and Freeman, 2002, p. 183). Managements of organisations are constantly looking for thebest ways to achieve better results and performances. In recent years the nature and sources of organisational knowledge transfer within international business have received a great deal of interest, mainly due to the huge impact thatknowledge transfers make in anorganisation's competitive advantage, thereby knowledge transfer can be the establishment for people's relation. Roberts, (2000) hence organisational knowledge becomes the main focus of thought for many business practitioners and academic researchers, Harrison (2009).

This research serves to explore the process of knowledge management level within Papyrus Design, and to offers recommendations to improve the level of transfer of knowledge between the organisation's employees and its affect on organisational learning and performance. The aim of this study however is to concentrate on the adoption and use of knowledge management approaches and how these have contributed to the effectiveness and efficiency of the knowledge management process in establishing different approaches which can be adopted at Papyrus Design. Today the contexts of using Knowledge transfer within an organisation are very important and popular, there are many driving forces behind these popularities and can be explore some of those factors. Firstly, the interest of organisations in the development of knowledge management and learning of employees. Secondly, the requirement for existing methods of learning transfers knowledge to match the need of continuous development of knowledge management for employees. Thirdly, the need for flexibility's need in terms of the employee's knowledge development process and learning.

The Papyrus Design organisation is one of the most dynamic and trendy organisations in the North West of England. Based in Manchester and established 15 years ago, the company have over 35 employees. The main production's company is printing and marketing advertisement, the company's management structure is control management style The control management style is not helpful to learning organisation's feature that's necessary to improve organisational learning, there is main manager for all departments and each department have their own manager which are the Design department and the Production department its include finishing and packing sections.

Strategic significance of the research:

The area to be investigated is the level of transfer knowledge inside the organisation and how this affects' organisational learning. The fact that motivated author was in what extent knowledge management system existing within Papyrus Design, This raised the matter of whether the knowledge transfer is already exist but however not been well established and formulated, and to clarify the importance of advantage and opportunity of knowledge transfer among employees inside organisation. And how the organisation's can be beneficial from using knowledge transfer system? The investigation outcome of existing knowledge management system within SMEs in North West of England showing that majority of them does not have the knowledge management system. Moreover the results of research presents on the extent to which knowledge management approaches were being used within UK by SMEs. The main finding is that SMEs are generally not aware of how knowledge transfer possibly be create by using of knowledge management system, Koh and Maguire (2004).

Learning organisation is an organisation skilful at generating, achieving and transferring knowledge, and adapting its performance to reflect new knowledge such as organisations can transfer knowledge successfully from one part to another and hence they are much more creative and will have a greater chance in surviving than those that do not adapt. Generally an organisation can recognise extraordinary increases in performances during knowledge transfer; however successful knowledge transfer is not easy to achieve. (Argote, et .al, 2000, cited in ,Chauvet , 2003). Organizational learning it's a way to the process of developing performance to better knowledge and understanding. (Fiol and Lyles, 1985, p.803)

This approach is showing that organisation better with long-term results, Organisational learning is a long-term activity that can create competitive advantages over time and need management's consideration constantly. Every organisation should be able to learn; some of them learn better than others and can survive whilst at the same time are the successful learners, but the ones that do not succeed in learning will, in the end, disappear.(Easterby-Smith,et.al, 2004). The difficulty in knowledge transfer in organisations rise above the individual rank to take in transfer at higher levels of analysis, such as the group, product line, department, or division. For instance, one manufacturing team can learn from other departments on how to better collect a product, or a geographical division may learn a different approach to product aim from its partner in another division.

We can measure knowledge transfer by the changes in performance and knowledge. when one sector becomes affected by another in an organisation therefore we can understand that knowledge transfer is happening. The conclusion is, organisation knowledge transfer shows itself by changes in the learning knowledge or performance at the time of units' recipient.

Furthermore, the strategic importance of this research can help strengthen the PAPYRUS DESIGN in the way of clarify any strength, weakness and opportunities and can suggest recommendation which help new employees learning. By giving attention to those the research objectives were summarised as the following shows:

The research aim and objectives:

§ To investigate the level of knowledge transfer within Papyrus Design organisation.

§ To propose recommendation how knowledge management improve organisational performance

Literature Review:

Knowledge Management

Knowledge management concept been put dawn as most recent development in management study (Easterby-Smith and Lyles 2005).and suggestion by( Hansenal ,1999) that knowledge management always been used by organisations however but not on purpose or systematic approach .Knowledge management during the 1990s becomes very popular by (Nonaka and Takeuchi's,1995) Regardless of its popularity there will be still a level of confusion in term of defining knowledge management (Cong and Pandya, 2003; Vera and Grossan, 2005).

Three topics been identify within knowledge management study by Scarborough and Swan (2005), literature; performance improvement, , describing managing knowledge as resource strategy and the storage and process of knowledge .Knowledge management been summarise by Vera and Grossan (2005) as “managed learning” and assumption will result a positive effect on performance , the theories and concept of knowledge management are prescriptive in the matter of what can be doing by organisation in order to manage knowledge. Organisational learning conversely is showing as resource can provide the study and regarding competitive advantage is concerned about the process of the way knowledge is developed, created ,transferred and shared (Argote and Ingram, 2000; Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995; Pisano, 1994; Szulanski, 1996), the other view about organisational knowledge is partly stored inside peoples as sort of skills, personal ability and experience , and some other parts into the organisation in the appearance of regulations ,rules and standards (Weick and Roberts 1993). Therefore can provide some definitions for knowledge management as below:

Van der Spek and Spijkervet (1997 p43) The explicit control and knowledge management inside organisation meant to reach objectives of the company.

O'Leary (1998 p34) the proper way of management of knowledge helping creation, reprocess and access of knowledge, using advanced technology properly.

Bassi (1999 p424) the creating process, using and capturing knowledge in order to improve organisational performance.

Liebowitz and Wilcox (1997 pi) the organisation's ability to manage, value, store and distribute knowledge.

Cong and Pandya (2003 p27) the organisation's ability to use their collective knowledge during knowledge generations process, exploitation and sharing allowed by technology to reach their objectives.

its widely recognized that knowledge has two types ; explicit, (in this type knowledge has at minimum been “captured” and expressed and has perfectly been “codified”, that is , structured, documented and disseminated) , tacit ( this types of knowledge is living in individual's heads or “muscle memory” and it's possible to be destined to stay there), Lynne ( 2001). Through processing of education, socialization and learning can knowledge to be transferred (Roberts J, 2000). Knowledge transfer in organizations is the process through which one unit (group, department, or section) getting affect by the experience of another. (Argote, L Ingram P, 2000). The establishment and transfer of knowledge within an organisation it has developed crucial factors in an organisation's success and competitiveness. It is important to understand what does knowledge transfer mean? (Major and Cordey-Hayes, 2002, p. 422) cited in(Syed-Ikhsan S, Rowland F,2004) suggesting that Transfer of knowledge is a transportation of knowledge from one position, individual, ownership, etc, to another one, furthermore, there must be involvement of two or more parties and the ground for foundation and destination same time. Normally when something is transferred, someone benefits from it and someone else will lose as a result. However knowledge which is considered as intangible resources is different from tangible sources, because tangible resources expect the value to be reduced when they are used, therefore when someone transfers their knowledge, they will not lose it. As a result knowledge will grow therefore individual shares the knowledge they have (Syed-Ikhsan and Rowland, 2004). Knowledge transfer is the process during the affectation of one group member by the experience of another group, usually knowledge transfer can show itself during changes of performance or knowledge of the unit's recipient.

Knowledge sometime can showed similar to product - something out there, it's possible searched out, obtained ,measured ,codified and distributed across the firm , knowledge can also be view as a process, ,rising from within the people but intimately formed by relations with other peoples. However we can see knowledge as dynamic because knowledge changes when people's interpretation of the world around them changes (Harrison R, 2009). The organization that can transfer successfully production development mad at one organization to another will be more creative than its counterparts who are unsuccessful at knowledge transfer (Goodman & Darr, 1996) cited by (Argote L, 2005).

It's helpful to look at some of authors view to find out what means to them knowledge management, and why they believes that knowledge cannot be managed? can be began with the “founding fathers” of the concept, possibly the founding father- Karl Erik Sveiby, in 1990 ,wrote about subject his first book under the title, 'Kunskapledning' in Swedish (Sveiby, 1990). Generally researchers within academic field and teachers not need to be “stuck with” whatever unsuccessful to resist to rigorous analysis, but it's fascinating can see the founders of “knowledge management” is unhappy with the term However the following are much more individual views:

I don't believe knowledge can be managed. Knowledge Management is a poor term, but we are stuck with it, I suppose. "Knowledge Focus" or "Knowledge Creation" (Nonaka) are better terms, because they describe a mindset, which sees knowledge as activity not an object. A is a human vision, not a technological one. (Sveiby, 2001. Cited in Wilson, 2002).

One of the first one to write about the “knowledge society” and “ knowledge economy” concept Drucker,(1969) and argue about the idea that knowledge can be managed.

Drucker, scoffs at the notion of knowledge management. “You can't manage knowledge “ he says, 2knowledge is between two ears, and only between two ears” To that extent, Drucker says it's really about what individual workers do with the knowledge they have. When employees leave accompany, he says, their knowledge goes with them, no matter how much they've shared. (Drucker, 1969. Cited in Wilson,2002).

Types of Knowledge:

Knowledge can be recognized as two types: tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge (Polyani, 1966). Polyani argues that tacit knowledge it's something belong to personal but is still stay as a personified when the meeting happen between the people and culture he belong to, (Polanyi,1962, 1966) . the point of Polany's concept about “tacit” is means “hidden” tacit knowledge is means hidden knowledge, hidden even from knower's consciousness, this is the grounds Polanyi have the expression “We know more than we can tell” this expression even used by those they mis-use the concept and they believe this hidden knowledge , unreachable to the consciousness of knower, and in some ways can be captured.( Wilson,2002).

Tacit knowledge has two dimensions; first one is technical dimension, which is cover the type of informal personal skills or crafts often referred to as (know-how). Second one is the cognitive dimension; it based of values, beliefs, ideals, schemata, and mental models (James et. al, 1999-2000). Tacit knowledge is where people have the knowledge in their minds; it is very difficult to transfer or share with other people. Tacit knowledge is considered as very personal and strongly rooted from people's ideas, experiences, values and emotions. The technical part is indicating with specific capability and skill it has been developed (Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995), Tacit knowledge is useful knowledge can be using it to perform a task, and this type of knowledge is used as a method in order to handling what's been concentrate on (Sveiby, 1997, p. 30). Therefore tacit knowledge within business context is: action-oriented, practical, context-linked, experience-based and personal, but the work done by tacit knowledge has to be examined for strength ,quality, and reductions in term of product costs . however , there are many argument within literature see that tacit knowledge is which diced to what degree businesses within global economy and turbulent market will be competitive (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995; Spender & Grant, 1996; Sweeney, 1996; Teece, Pisano, & Schuen, 1997). Furthermore tacit knowledge has a personal quality and is hard to take out from the individual's mind thereby making it difficult to transfer and communicate. This type of knowledge is deeply rooted in action, commitment and involvement in a particular context (Nonaka, I. and Takeuchi, H. 1995).

Explicit knowledge is codified and can be precisely and properly expressed. It is much more formal and efficient, possible to communicate and easy to transfer. This type of knowledge has been described by individuals and assumed that it isuseful knowledge of individual within the firm. This kind of knowledge is likely more specific and objective, connecting to past activities (Nonaka, I. and Takeuchi, H. 1995).

Explicit knowledge is emphasised more, both in literature and practice, therefore this type of knowledge can be passed on across people formally and easily.

Cook and Brown (1999) challenging that by knowing tacit and explicit knowledge only are not enough to completely understand the knowledge concept , they see the knowledge idea have to be added to the response what someone really knows. As tacit and explicit knowledge overcomes by individuals, knowing it will be about “practice” and interconnect with the physical and social world. Mainly knowledge concern with cognitive function such as facts and skills (know what) as more knowledge concern by knowledge of behaviour as action (know how) (Vera and Grossan 2005). The other fact referring to knowledge is practical as it seats more emphasis on individual actually putting knowledge within practice instate of just its transfer, creation and storage. Brown and Duguid (1998). However they suggesting that the core capability of organisations needs the knowledge (know how) to place knowledge (know what) within practice. Cook and Brown (1999) also suggesting put the factors of knowledge and knowing inside learning perspective by proposing they are learning processes content , that learning is a change within knowledge and knowing, it will result in changes to individuals behaviour and cognition.

The use of Knowledge

Organisational learning's most important consideration is how the knowledge used Nutley and Davis (2001 p36) they suggesting that present and past management of knowledge is the organisational learning's important part. Organisational learning concerning also about adaptation and building of knowledge (Stonehouse and Pemberton 1999), has been confirmed that one of the most important role about people's learning is showing the way to organisational knowledge (Pemberton and Stonehouse 2000). Nonaka and Takeuchi's (1995) .Knowledge creation model offers an understandable view about the organisational learning impact on knowledge management, clarifying the development of knowledge transfer among peoples, group, inter-organisational levels and organisation. However Alder et al (1999) recommend the role of management is to create best environment for learning that can help individuals and organisation's interactions in order to build and share knowledge. This needs from organisations to provide a processes or system available in order to obtain knowledge to change or developing “the organisations that purposely search for developing organisational learning are most of the time describe as learning organisations” (Nutley and Davies 2001 p36). The concept of learning organisations was seeing as an important element to organisations capability to deal with continuous (Dixon 1994).

Despite the growing attention within organizational learning. Those organisations are competent learners are described as “learning organisations”, Garvin (1993) defined a learning organisation as “ an organisation acquiring, skilled at creating, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reproduce new knowledge and insights" . Organisational learning viewed by most scholars as a development, a cognitive enterprise which over time unfolds .but they different on other matters which is more important, there are some they believes that change of behavioural is necessary for learning(Fiol and Lyles 1985), but there are others believe new ways of thinking it will be enough (Huber, 1991), and some others emphasizing that tangible market , the information process systems i.e.,( dissemination and information generation ) as a instrument during which learning should happen (Sinkula, 1994), the others suggests the need for shared organizational visions, shared mental models, and open-minded approaches in order to solve the problem (Senge,1990, 1992)

Sinkula J. Baker W. Noordewier T. 1997. Journal of Academy of Marketing Science. Volume

Learning Organisations

Senge suggesting that learning organisation is the one continually peoples are develop their ability in order to gain the result they actually wish to and learn how to perform and learn together in best way (Senge,1990). This definition is more relaying on culture inside organisations and motivated people to learn. Garvin (1993 p.80) clarifying learning organisation as the one is acquires, creates, and transferring knowledge's and adapting its behaviour in order to responses to new knowledge and insights. After this argument can summarised as fallowing:

§ There is clear link between organisational learning and knowledge management.

§ There is a link between learning process and process of knowledge creation.

§ In order to occur organisational learning its require from organisation to develop system and structures that support peoples learning but also encourage the process of social learning and as a result the subsequent creation, capturing and sharing of knowledge.

§ The establishing system is needed for organisation to use and store acquired knowledge as a main capability therefore this helps its adaptation, development and change.

There are some arguments suggesting that there must be difference be made between organisational learning and individual. Although learning of individuals is important to organisations , simply the organisational learning is not the sum each person's learning .organisation its different than individuals, maintain and develop learning system that not just affect directly their members. However they pass on to others by way of organization histories and norms. (Lawrence &Dyer, 1983; Martin, 1982; Mitroff & Kilmann, 1976) . Hedberg(1981) suggesting that organisational learning although happens through individuals, organisations don't have brains as a human being , however but they have memories and cognitive systems. as individuals developing their personal habits, personalities, and beliefs over the times , organizations developing ideologies and world views. organizations members come and go, changes leaderships , but the memories of organizations protecting the mental maps, certain behaviours, values and norms over time .

Models for Learning Organisations:

Argyris (1976) suggested a theory of double loop learning which is appropriate to learn how to change underlying assumptions and values. The main theory's concentration is on problem solving that are ill-structured and complex and which change as problem-solving progress. Argyris and Schon (1978) present models for learning organisations, stand on single and double-loop learning, those types of learning have been used within organisations and recognised as adaptive and generative learning as pointed out by Senge (1990). Single-loop learning occurs when noticing errors and correcting it whilst organisations continue with their current polices and goals. Single-loop learning is the most common form of learning within firms; Senge (1990) describes this type of learning as ‘coping. The theory of Double loop outlined by Argyris & Schon (1974) and is based upon (theory of action) perspective , this point of view evaluates from human beings reality's viewpoint as actors. Change in behsvior, values, leadership and help others. Generally there are four necessary steps in processing of learning action theory:

§ Finding of espoused and theory-in-use.

§ New meanings invention.

§ New actions production.

§ Generality of results.

Double loop learning involve making any of those steps applying to itself , assumptions underlying current outlooks in double loop learning are hypotheses and questioned about publically testing behavior. The double loop learning's last result should be improving of decision-making's effectiveness and enhanced acceptance of mistakes and failures. Can single-loop learning be compared with becoming affective more at what already you're doing? Whereas double-loop learning is about searching the efficiency of the target. Or in other word (single-loop learning is making things correct, while double-loop learning is making the correct things).

Double-loop learning is not just related to ability of pointing and correcting errors, but also in questioning and adapting existing norms. Double-loop learning is capable of changing anorganisation's knowledge base, its activities or routines. This type has also been describes by (Senge, 1990) as higher-level learning (or type of learning that can expand the capabilities of an organisation) and strategic learning.

Deutero-learning occurs when the organisations are capable in carrying out single-loop and double-loop learning. It is not possible for the first two types of learning to occur if the organisations are not aware that learning should happen; however awareness of ignorance encourages learning (Nevis,1995).

There is another matter regarding what's exactly controlling the process and in what extent these types of learning within organisations should occur , the main aims of double-loop learning is to challenge the question and norms, this type of learning if effectively not controlled and managed can lead to disorganisation and disharmony, that will resulting in failure to reach the goals of organisations, generally the organisational learning's key part is to improving performance or efficiency of organisations. as a result double-loop learning then require to happen within limited time , which might change within organisation according to the levels inside organisation .

A primary weakness within this model is its concentrating learning of individuals. there is no any explanation or clarifying and to offer how learning of individuals is leads or connected to organisational learning. Majority models or theories of organisational learning are concentrating on the organisation's individual activities, which ends to ‘individual action bias' (Huysman 1999).these likely over look the playing role by institutional forces, structural conditions ,culture, history and organisational values and norms.

Double-loop and Deutero Learning focuses onwhy and how to change the organisation, whereas single-loop learning is looking at the change and accepting it with no questioning underlying assumptions.

However single and double-loop learning recognized as focusing too deeply on problem based learning.

Another idea of organisational learning being processing constantly is Learning Cycle model. Developing new skills and ability of effectiveness is not dependent on proper training only, but also about taking experience from day to day work. However learning is a continuing process which may be seen as a cycle of ongoing development. It is dependent on our favourite particular stage of this cycle we are relaxing with. We can start learning wherever within the cycle, reliance which way you learn (Dixon N M, 2000). In order for learning to occur one has to complete the cycle; however one must not cross the cycle but go around it. Therefore the learning cycle may apply to both a specific and a general level.

There are four process stages that the learning cycle has to present for learning to happen Argyris and Schon (1978):

Feeling: Learning from a particular knowledge and relating it to individuals; this can be sensitive to other peoples feeling.

Watching: Examining the information before making a decision; should be viewing the situation from different perspectives.

Thinking: Making connections between logical experience and ideas, and reacting to how these logical analyses attach and understand with other ideas or different situations.

Doing: Capability of making things happen by taking necessary action or influence people as well as taking a risk.

The Learning Cycle is attaching in a methodical understanding of learning theory. even though Robert Karplus is in general conceder of this model of instruction as the "father" , its linked go back to the learning theories development of Piaget. To some extent more model's theoretical discussion as below provided in more psychological conditions. Piaget (1964) recognized four main aspects which he thinks applicable to cognitive reasoning abilities development. The factors are:

    1. Maturation - students must be physically developed and biologically mature and

therefore be able of controlling physically inside their environment.

    1. Experience - students past tangible experience and the capability to remember these experiences are significant for additional development. Piaget draw two kinds of experience: Physical Experience (drawn straight from objects) and Logical-

Mathematical Experience (drawn with actions which influence objects).

  1. Social Communication - students have to have capablility of communicating information through oral language and written .
  2. Equilibration - for cognitive growth, students should be complete a state of cognitive challenge where their existing the operations of mental are not sufficient. The accommodative development (called equilibration) by which dealing student with this new information will affecting cognitive growth.

Knowledge Creation:

The significance of organisation knowledge creation in recent years as a corporate resource has created substantial attention. Many views consider knowledge creation as an important aspect of organizational learning. Knowledge creation is an increase development of interactions between tacit and explicit knowledge, the interactions among those types of knowledge will result to the new knowledge's creation (James et. al, 1999-2000)The process of knowledge-creating is necessarily context-specific in space, time with others relationships (Nonaka and Toyama, 2003).There are arguments suggest that whilst developing new knowledge by individuals happen the organisation can play an important role in articulating and amplifying that knowledge, therefore the development of theoretical framework can provide an analytical view on the element dimensions of knowledge creation. There are two theories of organisational knowledge creation developed by Nonaka and his colleagues. The first one is epistemological dimension, which is the site of “social interaction” between tacit and explicit knowledge, and therefore knowledge is transformed from one type to another and new knowledge is produced. The second one is “ontological” dimension, which describes the way from individual to inter-organizational knowledge through group and organizational levels. However during this process an individual's knowledge is improved and crystallized as an element of the knowledge network of an organisation and this process is described as “spiral”.

Nanaka and Takeuchi (1995) suggest that organizational learning results from a process in which individual (tacit) knowledge is transferred upwardly to the organisational level. This development is considering spiral of knowledge conversion come from tacit to explicit. There are some views which suggest that the explicitness of organisational knowledge creation came from exchanges between tacit and explicit knowledge. The exchange and process of knowledge will explain the knowledge creation development is the start and relay on individual employees; there is an assumption that individual will be committed to knowledge creation and then learning. Leadership also within an organisation requires to support knowledge sharing and manage the process of knowledge creation (Nanaka and Takeuchi 1995). However individuals are important factors of this exchange process,

thus this model made up of four different modes of process knowledge conversation that has colossal results: (Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995).


Tacit to tacit


Knowledge is transferred through interactions between

individuals, which may be in an informal manner.

Mental models or actual skill may be shared, even

without the use of language.

Sympathized learning



knowledge to



Tacit knowledge is communicated as ‘explicit concepts'

(Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995 p 64). This may be in the

form of writing or language, often using metaphors


Conceptual knowledge


Explicit to



The concepts or models are developed through

interaction with other colleagues or individuals.

Knowledge is shared, discussed and then combined to

from new knowledge. This may be done through

conversations, meetings, emails or networks.

Systemic knowledge



knowledge to

tacit knowledge

The newly developed explicit knowledge is converted

back to tacit knowledge with the individual. This

referred to as ‘learning by doing' (p69). This process is

facilitated by the documenting of explicit knowledge in

the form of manuals, procedures or diagrams.

Documents help individuals internalise knowledge and

also the transfer of knowledge (p69).

Operational knowledge

Table 2: Four Modes of Knowledge Conversion (adapted from Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995) cited in Barnard S, (2008)

communities of practice

In recent years the idea of involving learning that deepening process in a community of practices participation has gained significant ground. Also within organizational development the community of practice becomes an important focus. The critical argument made by Jean Lave and Etinne Wenger regarding communities of practice are what we are in general involved and everywhere , whether that is at home, school, work, or in our leisure interests and civic . we are core members within some groups, but we are more at the margins in others . this practice mien a fundamental change in how the organisationacademically looking at learning process within organisation, usually learning been conceder from an information development perspective and deeply relay on the view of organisation as a cognitive systems therefore the social interaction offering peoples the opportunity to share their psychological models and make them have a meaning. (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Cited in ( Huysman M & Elkjaer B, 2006).

The community of practice expression is of comparatively recent coinage, it has been turned out the concept is to offer a helpful perspective on learning and knowing. Within a deferent sectors there are rising number of organizations and people now concentrating on communities of practice as a main factor in order to improve their performance. However communities of practice are groups of individual they share a passion or a concern for something they learn and do how better doing it while they interact repeatedly. Some time the reason community comes together is learning, or a minor result of member's interactions, not anything named a community is a community of practice. For instance a neighbourhood is normally described as community but in reality not a community of practice. The communities of practice are not named as communities of practice within all organization. They were recognized by different names such as, thematic groups, learning networks, or tech clubs. Community of practice they comes in different forms, some of them very large, some are small, some of them local and some globe, some of them mainly meet face-to-face, some with organization, some most of the time online, some are been recognized formally and regularly get support from budget, some are informal totally and even invisible .Communities of practice have existed for as long as individual have together learned. At work, at home, at school, all of us belong to communities of practice.

Organizational learning:

In the last thirty years the learning organisation concept has been developed as attempts are made in order to recognizing the key characteristic of organisations and successful companies. Those companies over time they are successful companies, in both private and public sector. There can be arguments about that concept of learning organization which offers management of organizations and others with the image of the way things might be inside an organizations, however there are writers like Peter Senge establish some motivating dimensions that possibly be personally developmental, and that can help of raising the effectiveness of organization, particularly where the project is strongly rooted in the (knowledge economy). (Kuchinke 1995 quoted in Kerka 1995). The learning organizations is showed as a reaction to dynamic business environment and increasingly unpredictable. A learning organization it doesn't mean more training, although training creating and develop types of skill, a learning organization engages in higher development levels of skill and knowledge. There are some definitions by key writers in this field: The essence of organisational learning is the organization's ability to use the amazing mental capacity of all its members to create the kind of processes that will improve its own" (Nancy Dixon 1994). "A Learning Company is an organiaation that facilitates the learning of all its members and continually transforms itself" (M. Pedler, J. Burgoyne and Tom Boydell, 1991). "Organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to learn together" (Peter Senge, 1990).from these and many more been drawn to develop a definition in order to help learning organisation develop their capabilities: Learning organizations are which they have in place mechanisms, systems, and processes, that are used to repeatedly improve their abilities and those who work for it or with it, to reach uphold objectives - for the communities and for themselves which they are participating with. The important conclusion to have regarding this definitions are learning organizations are adapting to external environment which they have , changing continually the improvement of their capability, development of individual and collective learning, using learning result in order to reach better results . A great deal of the literature about learning organisation been recommended, the way organisations should be designed and managed to encourage effective learning there are identification of five key characteristics : Pedler, Boydell and Burgoyne, 1989; McGill, Slocum and Lei, 1993; Nevis, DiBella and Gould, 1995; Davies and Nutley, 2000). Cited in (Iles and Sutherland, 2001, p.64):

Organisational structure: the Learning organisations have hierarchical management that developing and improving the employees opportunities participation within organisation, they all allow to make appropriate decisions, structure support teamwork, powerful side relations, and networking across organisational margins both internal and external. these type encourage information sharing, system thinking, and directness to learning organization's necessary information .

Information systems: Learning Organisations need information beyond the use of traditional organisations when generally information is used for control reasons (single-loop learning). Transformational change need more sophisticated information system that makes faster achievements of sharing and processing of rich, difficult information which facilitate successful and useful knowledge management .

Organisational culture: There are strong culture within Learning Organisations encouraging openness, creativity and experimentation between individuals, They encourage peoples to obtain, process and share information, to encourage innovation and let them try new things by providing freedom and to learn from mistakes by risking failure

Human resource practices: Individuals are known as the users and creators of organisational learning therefore human resource management concentrate on provision and support of people's learning reward system and appraisal are concerned to measure long-term performance. In order to help gaining and sharing of new knowledge and skills.

Leadership: Same as most interventions expected at securing significant organisational development. Organisational learning depends a great deal on effective leadership, Leaders copy the openness, risk-taking and reflection required for learning, and offering the empathy, personal advocacy and support required to lead towards of others, they make sure that work groups and organisations have the capability to develop, learn and change.

Single and double-loop learning however both can be measured as concentrating too deeply on problems related to learning, a reactive learning culture development that might not be proactive. The model is reliant and believes on, organisations having an open and culture of blame free where peoples feel positive to question the norms. It has already been recognized that majority of SMEs organisations not have a culture that Supporting of transfer knowledge. The models not reacting the difficulty of larger organisations and create the supposition that employees development inside an organisation possibly be drawing against these.


In the last two decades, the world has observes the appearance of effective forces which search for reshape the organisational communities and economic in general. And has supported fundamental changes in strategy of organisations. Those forces have guide organisations and individuals to appreciate the important role knowledge play in strong competitive world market. Normally organisations have in peoples head a wealth of knowledge, work practises and system. The main organisation's challenge is the capability of capturing that knowledge and to leverage it all over the organisation.

Corporations sit on knowledge's wealth that fixed in individuals head and spread throughout a range of information system inside organisations. These information systems consist of documents, databases, policies, procedures as well as unarticulated expertise, and skills held by individual employees. To have connection with those spread knowledge, needed technology to join this system, furthermore a corporate culture that seek to encourage and motivate individuals to share knowledge, and to create using this system inside organisation. However in order to understand knowledge management, one need to recognize the impact knowledge on some elements, which possibly are give explanation as follows:

Corporate strategy: is concentrate on the organisation's direction for the future, its finance, goals, and its interaction with employees and customer, assessing the profitable and non profitable products, the requirement to look forward to the threat from existing and new competitors within market, and to develop a strategic plan to deal with different threats such as the bargaining power of suppliers and the threat of competitor's services and products. Based on those aspects the future goals and task will be established.

Corporate Culture: it's been recognized as complicated concept to identify, known as the values, norms, and shared between workers inside organisation, Mullins () describe organisational culture as “the way things are done around hear” this refers to common practises, managerial perspective style, and organisational processes.

Systems: related to information system, directing accurate information to support the tactical, operational, and management's strategic functions. This operation require from organisations to have the right technology, tools and capability of retrieve, share and knowledge distribution inside the organisations.

However can be see the knowledge management is the management of information through controlling three corporate elements in the following ways:

Corporate strategy: corporate strategy based on having accurate, reliable and dynamic information in term of supporting organisations in decision-making, which attaching with the argument of technologies and information systems that support them. Furthermore knowledge management impose new approach of view regarding fixed products and services. This new approach to strategy of organisations bring in innovative ways of vision regarding intellectual capital and the way can help organisations in growing profitability , increase corporate agility and free financial resources ,this involves the requirement of corporate strategies to introduce new measures of achievement that demonstrate the true value of knowledge more generally than basic balance sheet accounting.

Corporate Culture: knowledge management is connected within the organisational culture. Organisations are a collection of individual who share knowledge and information as part of their every day practice. The challenge is to creating strategy for knowledge management that concentrate on knowledge sharing system's developments that are reliant on employees. Strategies require to be making that reward and encourage knowledge sharing. in order to knowledge market work effectively needs that trust able to be seen all through the organisation, the people within organisation need to see they get credit for their sharing knowledge. The main challenge in majority knowledge management attempts lies when people changing their work habits. The challenge comes in making people to face to face articulate and share knowledge. Communities of practise's set up are necessary in allowing peoples to exchanging their knowledge, which support social capital's development. Also the organisation's structure is important and there are advantages in employing knowledge management in flatter, simpler and less complicated structures. Moreover the line of communication is most of the time shorter and direct, therefore will allow a quicker communication on the issues of knowledge management inside the organisation.

Systems: one of the most important corporate resources is Information which need a strategy support for its development and management. This demand an understanding the requirements of management , weakness and strength of the organisations threat .therefore the information systems development requires to be based on the objectives of corporations strategic planning, because the key resources is knowledge which organisations require to develop. Moreover the measures and process that support information system require being adaptable, simplified, and flexible to match the changes in user's needs. Within global market's places Establishing competitive advantage more demand on information system in order to provide reliable and accurate information to tactical, strategic, and operational management levels. The difficulty and investment of the information systems rely as well on the level of management and making decision that is requested.

Development of a Conceptual Framework

Developing conceptual framework by using Iles and Sutherlands 5 characteristics (2001) and joint with communities of practice also with support and incorporate from Nonaka and Takeuchi's (1995) four steps of knowledge progress will demonstrate the relationship between knowledge creation/management development and organisational learning. The key causes of poor sharing knowledge been joined in the conceptual framework in order to guarantee a position with an information system from Iles and Sutherland's characteristics.

The conceptual framework showing the following:

  1. in all parts of the model culture considered as an overarching aspect.
  2. Leadership and structure are very important to achieve all level by joining together different sections, supporting the communication and team working and sharing knowledge.
  3. The leadership and human resource systems they have to support the process of learning organisation's vision (socialising tacit knowledge) and an open and fair culture also to have communities of practice.
  4. The information systems will provide all support to encourage more sharing knowledge (externalisation of knowledge).
  5. The communities of practice will support knowledge for social development and help systemic knowledge development (combination).
  6. The leadership and human resource systems will help the conclusion of communities of practise during operational knowledge development through the policy and measures and the succeeding development of internalisation (learning to do).

Final Research Method

The purpose of this chapter is to examine and understand the philosophical positions and matters linked with research and to ensure that the research design is appropriate to the topic in question with possibility of satisfactory outcome also related with Literature Review andcan play veryimportant role in shaping research problem (Kumar R, 2005). the advantages and disadvantages of a range of methods ,techniques, tools . also the Paradigm as fundamental idea based on Ontological, Epistemological and Methodological assumptions. (Guba E, Lincoln Y). However there are three main reasons that make understanding philosophical issues beneficial: (Easterby-Smith, M. Thorpe, R. Lowe, and L. 2004).

According to (Easterby-Smith et al, 2004) there are three main reasons why understanding of philosophical research in relation to research is useful and beneficial:

  1. Can help clarify research designs, providing good answers to the questions which under investigation.
  2. Can help researcher to recognize what research design will work and which does not work.
  3. Can help researcher to create and identify research design outside of their past experience.

A balanced view of the different philosophical positions is important because

research problems may require a compromise design which draws from more than

one tradition (Easterby-Smith et al, 2004). There are three philosophical positions

which predominate in management research; these are positivism, social

constructionism and realism.

The term ‘paradigm' describes the progress of scientific discoveries in practice,

rather than how they are subsequently reconstructed in books (Easterby-Smith et

al, 2004).


The key idea of positivism is that the social world exists externally, and that its properties should be measured through objective methods, rather than being inferred subjectively through sensation, reflection or intuition. The French philosopher, Auguste Comte (1853), was the first one to summarize this view, as he suggest: “All good intellects have repeated, since Bacon's time, that there can be no real knowledge but that which is based on observed facts” this view holding two speculation : Firstly, an ontological assumption, that reality is external and objective. Secondly, an epistemological assumption, that knowledge is only of significance if it is based on observations of this external reality.

Positivism is an epistemological position that helps the scientific methods use in order to study social reality in an objective manner (Bryman 2001). Positivism assumes that the social world externally exists (reality), is objective and should be measured through objective methods, (Bryman 2001) Explains this ontological assumption as social phenomenon and their meaning having an existence that is independent of social actors. Smith (1998) suggesting the helpful insight positivist thoughts inside social sciences by situation “Positivist approaches to the social sciences . . . assume things can be studied as hard facts and the relationship between these facts can be established as scientific laws.”

Moreover an assumption that only knowledge can be of any value if based on experiential facts (Easterby-Smith et al 2004). However, individual can be a subject to number influences on feeling, behaviour, attitudes, and perceptions that positivists would refuse as inappropriate. (Crossan 2003). A critic the positivist approach and argue that positivist is creates useful but very limited data that just present an external view of the phenomenon it examination (Bond 1993, Moccia 1988, Payle 1995).

Bryman and Bell (2007) arguing that some of the writers (including Saunders et al (2003) asking whether its suitable to apply natural science methods to social sciences or management studies and that would be wrong to look at positivism as synonymous with science due to the problems in applying scientific ideology to the society studies .furthermore they concerned that the doctrine of positivism is very difficult to pin down, research of positivist has a highly structured methodology and can be replicated very easy (Gill and Johnson, 2002) cited in Saunders et al, (2007). This philosophy's advantage is that for researcher it would be easier to prove that they were objective and the research not been influenced by their own values, the supporters of this position's proponent's suggesting that the researcher will not have any affect by his own beliefs and values. It's based on the assumption that the researcher is independent of and will not be affecting by the research's subjects (Saunders et al, (2007). However several writers argue that it is suitable to apply natural science methods to management studies or social sciences (Hammersley M,2004).


During the last half century the new paradigm by philosophers has been developed, mainly as a reactions of positivism's application to the social sciences, the context of social constructionism is, as a development by writers such as Berger and Luckman(1966), Watzlawick(1984) and Shotter (1993) cited in (Easterby- Smith et al.2009). also there are many views that have developed within management study's during the last century about is that reality is socially constructed and giving meaning by peoples (Saunders M, Lewis P, Thornhill A, 2009).Interpretivism is a expression given to a contrasting epistemology to positivism (Bryman, A .and Bell, E.(2007). Social constructionism concentrates on how the individuals make sense of the world specially during sharing with others their experiences (Easterby-Smith et al 2004). This view perspective identifies the relationship between socio-cultural matters and individual behaviour, external structures, attitudes (Crossan 2003). There is suggestion by Proctor (1998) that between the range of factors that affect reality construction, gender, culture and cultural beliefs are the most important, therefore the concentration of research should be related to what feeling and thinking of people are, with pay attention to the way of how the communication is between them . Verbally and non-verbally. The key purpose should be to explain and understand why individuals have different experiences rather than look for external causes to describe and explain behaviour (Easterby-Smith et al 2004).

According to Saunders et al.(2007) there are advantages and disadvantages

relating to both social Constructionism and positivism as summarised in following table:

There are many views that have developed within management study's during the last century about is that reality is socially constructed and giving meaning by peoples (Saunders M, Lewis P, Thornhill A, 2009).Interpretivism is a expression given to a contrasting epistemology to positivism (Bryman, A .and Bell, E.(2007).

Contrasting implications of positivism and social constructionism Adapted from Easterby-Smith et al (2009, p. 59)

Positivism Social constructionism

The observer must be independent is part of what is being observed

Human interestsshould be irrelevant are the main drivers of science

Explanationsmust demonstrate causality aim to increase general

Understanding of the situation

Research gathering rich data from which

Progresses through hypotheses and deductions ideas are induced

Conceptsneed to be defined so that should incorporate stakeholder

They can be measured perspectives.

Units of analysisshould be reduced to simplest may include the complexity of

Terms “whole” situations

Generalization statistical probability theoretical abstraction


Sampling requires large numbers selected small numbers of cases chosen

Randomly for specific reasons

According to Saunders et al.(2007) there are advantages and disadvantages

1. Economical collection of large

amounts of data.

2. Clear theoretical focus for the

research from the outset.

3. Greater opportunity for researcher to

retain control of the research process.

4. Easily comparable data.

1. Facilitates understanding of how and


2. Enables researcher to be alive to

changes, which occur during the

research process.

3. Good at understanding social


1. Inflexible, direction often cannot be

changed once data collection has


2. Weak at understanding social


3. Often doesn't discover the meanings

people attach to social phenomena.

1. Data collection can be time


2. Data analysis is difficult.

3. Researcher has to live with the

uncertainty that clear patterns may

not emerge.

4. Generally perceived as less credible

by non -researchers.

relating to both social Constructionism and positivism as summarised in following table:Positivism SocialConstructionism




realism position is a third philosophical viewpoint ,this assumption is based on that different observer could have different point of view and that, whatever count for the truth can be different from location to location and from time to time (Collins, 1983 p88), this can be regard as cooperation between the two extreme positions as previously discussed. According to realism philosophy is that there is a reality fairly independent of the mind. From this perspective realism is opposite to idealism, the theory that just mind and its contents exist (Saunders et al, 2009). Realism consider as another philosophical position which relate to scientific enquiry, according to (Bryman, A .and Bell, E. (2007) It's a belief that both natural and social sciences can be appropriate to same type of approach for collecting of data and to explanation There are two types of realism, direct realism and critical realism. Direct realism positions that “what you see is what you get” (Saunders et al, 2009 page 115). Furthermore, the suggestion by Bhaskar (1989) “what we see is only part of the bigger picture” (page 115). However the argument by Critical realism suggesting that “what we experience are sensations, the images of the real world, not the things in the real world, not the things directly” (Saunders et al, 2007 page 115). Critical realism identifies that reality separately existing from process of human thought and there are some external factors will influence how the world is appearing. And there is also has some similarity to positivism in the way the recognition of requirement for similar scientific methods to support healthy data collection and measurement. Furthermore, critical realism is not restricted to the physically observed and will believe unseen social phenomena in its description (Bryan 2001). There is similarity to social constructionism in the way it recognising that individuals cannot be calculated as in the natural sciences. Therefore Realism more pays attention to identifying and exposing what is reality as different to discovering or inventing it.

Therefore it can be seen that different observer might have different point of view, the suggestion by direct realism is that the world relatively unchangeable and operating one level only within organisations (Saunders et al, 2009). However the difference consideration by critical realism is that the world operating at multiple-levels inside organisations (Saunders et al, 2009). Easterby-Smith et al (2008) suggesting that realism position is different with its own advantage and disadvantages. Saunders et al (2003) arguing and don't regard that single research approach as fundamentally be better than any other. Each of them has advantage and disadvantages and the best approach however depends on what the question of research is.

Easterby-Smith et al (2008) set these out in tabular form in figure 3/3:





1. Can provide wide

coverage. Potentially fast

and economical.

2. Easier to provide

justification policies

1. Inflexible and artificial.

2. Not good for process,

meanings or theory


3. Implications for action not



1. Accepts value of

multiple data sources.

2. Enables generalisations

beyond present sample.

3. Greater efficiency

including outsourcing


1. Requires large samples.

2. Cannot accommodate

institutional and cultural


3. Problems reconciling

discrepant information.



1.Good for processes,

and meanings.

2. Flexible and good for

theory generation.

3. Data collection less


1. Can be very time


2.Analysis and interpretations are difficult.

3. May not have credibility with policy makers.

Strengths and weaknesses of different epistemologies Adapted from Easterby-Smith et al (2008, p.73).

Figure 3/3

Easterby-Smith et

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