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Individuals and Knowledge Transfer: What We Know and Where We Go from Here
Naveen Kumar Jain; Lin Yuan
Source PublicationThe Handbook of Industrial, Work and Organization Psychology
Author of SourceDeniz S. Ones, Neil Anderson, Chockalingam Viswesvaran, and Handan Kepir Sinangil
Publication PlaceAmerica
PublisherSAGE Publications
Other Abstract

Knowledge transfer allows companies to gain competitive advantages (Horwitz & Horwitz, 2007; Nobeoka, Dyer, & Madhok, 2002; Quigley, Tesluk, Locke, & Bartol, 2007). It is, therefore, not surprising that the topic of knowledge transfer has created significant academic interest to understand this challenging practice (Darr & Kurtzberg, 2000; Dyer & Nobeoka, 2000; Inkpen, 2000; Levin & Cross, 2004; Lindsay et al., 2003; Minbaeva et al., 2003; Nonaka, 1994; Roberts, 2000; Serenko & Bontis, 2004; Szulanski, 1996; Wang & Noe, 2010). Knowledge transfer is a process that involves a recipient, a provider, and the context or environment in which the transfer of knowledge takes place. Depending upon the level at which a research study is conducted, both the recipient and provider of knowledge may be a firm, team, or an individual. Irrespective of the parties involved, proper communication between the recipient and provider is necessary, and individuals are involved for knowledge transfer to take place (Argote & Ingram, 2000; Inkpen, 2000; Nonaka, 1994; Simonin, 2004; Szulanski, 1996). A significant component of the knowledge that organizations acquire, especially tacit knowledge, is embedded in individual members. Given that individuals play crucial roles in intraand interorganizational knowledge transfer, we, in this book chapter, take stock of the existing literature related to individual-level variables that influence knowledge transfer. Although our focus is on individuals, we study the research examining not only the knowledge transfer among individuals but also the actions by firms, teams, and top management to enhance individuals’ involvement in knowledge transfer. We believe that an insightful review must involve an understanding of actions of both individuals and companies because individual employees need to engage in knowledge transfer activities and companies must obtain and trace that knowledge for effective knowledge transfer practices in a company. This chapter is organized as follows. In the next section, we present a brief review of the literature on intrafirm, interfirm, and individual-level knowledge transfer. In the third section, we focus on the variables that influence individual-level knowledge transfer. This is followed by a section on top management’s roles in shaping employees’ involvement in knowledge transfer. We, then, proceed to discuss the team-level research pertaining to knowledge transfer. Finally, we examine the roles of organizations and geographic clusters in facilitating knowledge transfer. The chapter ends with directions for future research and a conclusion.

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Document TypeBook chapter
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Naveen Kumar Jain,Lin Yuan. Individuals and Knowledge Transfer: What We Know and Where We Go from Here[M]. 2. America:SAGE Publications,2015:237-252.
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