Friday, July 11, 2008

Dynamic Knowledge Transfer Capacity

(Via Paul McDowall of the Canadian Federal Government's Interdepartmental Knowledge Management Forum)

Dynamic Knowledge Transfer Capacity: A Systems Thinking Framework for Effective Knowledge Transfer, was published last year (Journal of Knowledge Management. 11(6),81-96) based on research by Robert Parent, Mario Roy andDenis St-Jacques, through the University of Sherbrooke in Canada.)

"The article proposes a new knowledge transfer paradigm that views knowledge as a systemic, socially constructed, context-specific representation of reality. The proposed knowledge transfer model is in sharp contrast to past attempts, focusing attention on the capacities that must be present in organizations and social systems as a precondition for knowledge transfer to occur."

I find the model interesting for a couple of reasons. First it extends the traditional model of knowledge transfer that focus on "generate" and "disseminate" to also include the capacity to absorb. Knowledge transfer should focus first and foremost on the learner, or, to use one of Nancy Dixon's terms, the "neglected receiver."

And second, one of the key hurdles faced in implementing knowledge strategy, plans, methods, tools, techniques etc. is change "readiness" - on the part of the organization, work group, or individual. Unless there is readiness to change (acknowledgement of the need being one dimension), the ability to change (knowledge and skill), and the peer, environmental and organizational support for change, it's a loooongggg harrrdddd rooooaaadddd!

All in all, a good, thought provoking paper.

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