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A structured approach to manage the tacit knowledge of construction employees

Pathirage, CP 2007, A structured approach to manage the tacit knowledge of construction employees , PhD thesis, Salford : University of Salford.

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    Abstract

    The importance of knowledge as a key determinant of organisational competitiveness and better performance is increasingly appreciated by both academics and practitioners. The UK construction industry is perceived as one of the knowledge based value creating sectors of the economy; however, it faces many challenges, especially in terms of performance, due to its intrinsic nature. Different knowledge based solutions to overcome this problem have been proposed in the past. Previous work on knowledge management in the construction industry has focused heavily on the delivery of technological solutions. Therefore, this study argues that personalisation strategies supporting the process-based view of knowledge, to enhance generation and utilisation of employees' tacit knowledge, would be much more relevant to overcome performance problems in the construction industry. In this context, the following research problem is articulated for empirical investigation: What is the role of tacit knowledge in achieving better performance, and how could tacit knowledge be managed in construction employees? The research problem was investigated by developing a conceptual framework, drawing from the literature and pilot interviews, addressing the process of tacit knowledge management. The social constructionism philosophy with the case study approach was adopted for this study. The conceptual framework was refined and validated empirically through a single longitudinal case study, comprising two phases: an exploratory phase and an explanatory phase. Interviews and structured surveys were used as the principal data collection techniques. The primary data analysis techniques used for the study were content analysis, cognitive mapping and descriptive statistics. The case study findings challenge the prevailing focus on codification strategies of knowledge management in construction organisations, which do not recognise the process-based view of knowledge. Further, it reveals the main sources of tacit knowledge generation and acquisition, both internal and external to an organisation, and factors affecting tacit knowledge utilisation at individual, group and organisational levels. The study introduces a systematic process and five stage maturity approach for tacit knowledge management. It concludes by stressing the importance of strengthening the sources of tacit knowledge acquisition, addressing the factors that affect tacit knowledge utilisation, and evaluating performance of process and outcomes of tacit knowledge management in construction organisations.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Contributors: Amaratunga, D(Supervisor) and Haigh, R (Supervisor)
    Additional Information:
    Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology
    Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of the Built Environment > Research Centre for Education in the Built Environment (RCEBE)
    Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of the Built Environment
    Depositing User: Institutional Repository
    Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2012 14:34
    Last Modified: 19 Feb 2014 13:23
    URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/26857

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