Engaging Environments: Tacit Knowledge sharing on the shop floor
March 4, 2013 Editor 0
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify factors that facilitate tacit knowledge sharing in unstructured work environments, such as those found in automated production lines.Design/methodology/approach – The study is based on a qualitative approach, and it draws data from on a 4 month field study at a blown-molded glass factory. Data collection techniques included interviews, informal conversations and on site observations, and data was interpreted using content analysis.
Findings – Results indicated that tacit knowledge sharing is facilitated by an engaging environment. An engaging environment is supported by shared language and knowledge, which are developed through intense communication and a strong sense of collegiality and a social climate that is dominated by openness and trust. Other factors that contribute to the creation of an engaging environment include managerial efforts to provide appropriate work conditions and to communicate company goals HRM practices, such as the provision of formal training, on-the-job training and incentives.
Research limitations/implications – The choice for a qualitative method conducted on a single site delivered rich data and lead to useful conclusions, but limits generalization.Practical implications – This paper clarifies the scope of managerial actions that impact knowledge creation and sharing among blue-collar workers.Originality/value – Despite the acknowledgement of the importance of blue-collar workers´ knowledge, both Knowledge Management and Operations Management literatures have devoted limited attention to it. Studies related to knowledge management at unstructured working environments are also not abundant.
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Categories: Knowledge Management
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