Knowledge creation and transfer in construction organisations in Tanzania

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: The project-based nature of construction organisations creates a learning opportunity from most of the activities carried by these organisations. Knowledge is being created in the course of carrying core and non-core activities in the organisation. For organisations to make the most of this knowledge, a mechanism for tapping has to exist. Such tapping can occur through the organisation’s various activities and organisations stand to benefit if these activities are done strategically not only to tap, but also to create and transfer knowledge and ultimately enhance performance.The study has henceforth analysed the knowledge transfer process of construction organisations in the Tanzania construction industry and explored how these organisations facilitate creation and transfer of knowledge. A survey in a pilot study in the year 2001 was conducted to refine and focus the study’s questions and propositions and a case study strategy of inquiry has been adopted for the main study. Four construction organisations in the Tanzania construction industry are studied.The analyses from findings support the propositions set forth in the study and among others establish: the specificity of the knowledge transfer process in construction organisations, the situational nature of the knowledge being transferred, the ephemeral nature of goals and the “selling of jobs” in construction sites influencing incentives for knowledge management initiatives. The study further establishes that there are inadequate attributes towards knowledge creation in the organisations. That: there is limited practice of on-the-job training, peer assist and learning by imitation; codification of procedures, rules, and checklists is done insignificantly or absent completely; networking of knowledge is poor; experience sharing and learning by doing is low.In effect the study proposes an optimal knowledge transfer process for construction organisations in Tanzania using an IDEF0 business process model, and explores the cost-effectiveness for organisations in the industry pursuing knowledge management initiatives such as the knowledge transfer process. Lastly, recommendations for construction organisations at policy and functional level are made.