Knowledge transfer across projects: Codification in creative, high-tech and engineering industries

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Cacciatori, E. ; Tamoschus, D. ; Grabher, G. (2012)

The use of codification to support knowledge transfer across projects has been explored in several recent, and mostly qualitative, studies. Building on that research, this article puts forward hypotheses about the antecedents of knowledge codification, and tests them on a sample of 540 inter-organizational projects carried out in the creative, high-tech and engineering industries. We find that the presence of strong industry norms governing the division of labour discourages knowledge transfer through codification, as suggested by the existing qualitative studies. The presence of a system integrator plays an important role in driving the use of codification for knowledge transfer, to some extent embodying an organizational memory in volatile project environments. Finally, the level of use of administrative control in the project is a robust predictor of attempts to transfer knowledge via codification. When these antecedents are taken into account, the novelty of products and services plays a smaller role than previously found in determining the use of codification.
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