To boost project performance, managers of engineering and construction organizations are interested in sharing knowledge between employees across the organization. Global projectbased organizations that operate in diverse markets are particularly keen to share knowledge collectively across projects and regions to gain a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, creating knowledge sharing connections and networks can be particularly challenging for global projectbased organizations. They not only face typical knowledge sharing barriers of resources, organizational structure and individual motivations, but also physical and cultural barriers due to geographic distance. Although the benefits of global knowledge sharing are established, little is known about how knowledge sharing connections (KSC) and knowledge sharing networks (KSN) are established and maintained. In order to better understand network structure and the formation of knowledge sharing connections within these global organizations, the research analyzed the KSC within a KSN focused on sustainability in one large multinational engineering organization. This paper analyzes KSC that span geographic boundaries to determine regional knowledge exchange patterns within the KSN, why KSC across geographical boundaries are formed and maintained, and the barriers to establish these KSC. To meet these objectives, a mixed research method was employed, including quantitative and qualitative analysis. Social network questionnaires and analysis determined the mechanics and dynamics of knowledge sharing within the KSN, including knowledge exchange patterns and metrics. Code was developed to determine the influence of geographical location on KSC within the network, which revealed a propensity for intra-regional knowledge exchange, particularly at a weekly knowledge exchange frequency. However, geographic proximity was found to be less important in interregional knowledge exchange patterns. Instead, despite location or economic indicators, regions exchange knowledge most frequently with the corporate headquarters. To better understand why and how knowledge connections across geographic boundaries were formed, approximately 5% of network members were interviewed using a semi-structured format and ethnographic techniques. The results indicate that engineering organizations must strategically focus on knowledge exchange by identifying technical experts and centers of excellence that consult across the organization, supporting an organizational structure and controls that encourage collaboration across borders, and creating resources to facilitate face-to-face meetings, training sessions, or internal organizational projects with global KSN members.
Javernick-Will, A. (2011). "Knowledge Sharing Connections Across Geographical Boundaries in Global Intra-Firm Networks." Engineering Project Organization Conference. Estes Park, CO. Best Presentation Award