Faculté des sciences économiques et sociales

Intra-organizational knowledge transfer process in Vietnam's information technology companies

Pham, Thi Bich Ngoc ; Meier, Andreas (Dir.) ; Widmer, Marino (Codir.)

Thèse de doctorat : Université de Fribourg, 2008.

Intra-organizational knowledge transfer has attracted much attention of researchers and practitioners in recent years since knowledge transfer has been considered as a critical determinant of an organization’s capacity to confer sustainable competitive advantage. Despite extensive research on knowledge transfer issues, the effect of knowledge transfer on organizational performance still has not... Plus

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    Summary
    Intra-organizational knowledge transfer has attracted much attention of researchers and practitioners in recent years since knowledge transfer has been considered as a critical determinant of an organization’s capacity to confer sustainable competitive advantage. Despite extensive research on knowledge transfer issues, the effect of knowledge transfer on organizational performance still has not been fully examined or attracted adequate empirical testing. Therefore, the objective of this study is to investigate organizational factors influencing intra-organizational knowledge transfer, and examine the relationship between knowledge transfer process, its antecedents and organizational performance. Drawing on several theoretical streams, an integrated theoretical model of intra organizational knowledge transfer together with 13 hypotheses were developed and tested in the context of IT companies in Vietnam. To achieve the objectives, a triangulation of quantitative and qualitative studies was applied. A quantitative survey was employed to test hypotheses in the conceptual model derived from relevant literature. Data were collected from a survey of 218 managers and technical staff working in 36 IT companies located in Hanoi and HoChiMinh City. Multiple regression techniques were used to analyze the data. A case study research was conducted with the aim of illustrating the intra organizational knowledge transfer process within a company operating in a transition economy like Vietnam. Data for case study were mainly collected by interviewing managers and technical staff during a one-month field study in the FPT Software Solutions Company. The main findings showed that intra-organizational knowledge transfer is most affected by organizational culture, incentive system and organizational structure. Adaptability and solidarity are two culture values enabling the transfer process. A transparent and flexible incentive system motivates individuals to exchange and apply knowledge in their daily work. High level of centralization creates difficulties for social interaction and reduces autonomy and active involvement of employees, vi which are essential for successful knowledge transfer. High formalization facilitates the knowledge transfer process by providing a clear direction for employees and enhancing communication flow through an extensive monitoring and reporting requirement. The frequency of using IT tools did not significantly influence the intra organizational knowledge transfer process after other independent variables were added in the regression model. This suggests either that IT tools may not directly itself is not enough to ensure successful knowledge transfer. Therefore, to facilitate knowledge transfer process, it is important to foster knowledge-sharing attitude through providing greater opportunities for deeper involvement of users in the system. Although the knowledge transfer process was found not to mediate the relationship between its antecedents and organizational performance, the process itself moderately predicts organizational performance. This suggests that intra organizational knowledge transfer process should be considered as one of the factors contributing to company performance. The research has filled gaps in existing literature in several ways. Firstly, it extends our understanding of the important facilitators of intra-organizational knowledge transfer process. Secondly, it attempts to integrate both soft and hard organizational factors to create a comprehensive model of intra-organizational knowledge transfer. Thirdly, it clarifies the role of the intra-organizational knowledge transfer process in improving the company’s performance in a transition economy. Overall, the results of the study contribute to the advancement of research in the area of intra-organizational knowledge transfer and provide practical implications for managers of IT companies in Vietnam by shedding light on determinant factors of knowledge transfer process and examining the link between knowledge transfer process and firm performance.