Engineering and construction organizations have become increasingly interdisciplinary and global to meet the demands of complex projects around the world. These organizations can gain a competitive advantage by sharing knowledge collectively across disciplines and geographic regions. Knowledge sharing connections (KSC) that span geographic and disciplinary boundaries can also increase performance at the individual and project level. As a result, organizations are particularly keen to create these boundary-spanning KSC within their global interdisciplinary networks. Unfortunately, these KSC are difficult to create as they span "long jumps" of physical distance and/or "high jumps" of functional silos and disciplinary knowledge. In addition, little is known about the relative importance of discipline and geographic location on the creation and maintenance of KSC in intraorganizational networks. To address this gap, this research employs social network analysis (SNA) to analyze the frequency of KSC that span disciplinary and geographic boundaries within globally distributed, interdisciplinary knowledge networks in an engineering organization. To further understand the origins and reasons for these connections, this research also examines the reliance that individuals within the network have on these connections and the directional flow of knowledge for each connection. Results indicate a higher frequency of connections that span disciplinary versus geographic boundaries, higher reliance on KSC spanning disciplinary boundaries than regional boundaries, and approximately equal relative frequencies of KSC that have bi-lateral sharing of knowledge These results can be used to prioritize knowledge mobilization strategies for multi-national engineering and construction organizations.
Wanberg, J. and Javernick-Will, A. (2012). "Long and High Jumps: Knowledge Sharing Connections that span Geographic and Disciplinary Boundaries in Interdisicplinary Intra-Firm Networks." Construction Research Congress. West Lafayette, IN. doi: 10.1061/9780784412329.151