Presentation Details

The Fourth International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organisations

Culturally Aligned Teaming as the Key Knowledge Transfer Method

Deborah C. Hurst, Shelley MacDougall.

Knowledge transfer is much more than improved access to information through electronic communications or depositing information in document repositories. It is fundamentally about the human activities involved in sharing, creating new ideas, generating insight and learning. One organizational method cited is the stimulation of knowledge creation/transfer through the employment of contingent knowledge professionals (Matusik and Hill, 1998; Stewart, 1998). Organizations are thought to benefit most if they also align their working cultures to support the knowledge sharing/transfer goals (Pfeffer, 1994; Inkpen, 1998). Question arise about the degree to which organizations hire contingent professionals as part of their knowledge creation activities? If knowledge best absorbed through structures such as teams when aligned with enabling cultures? And if supporting structures and cultures are not in place, are knowledge creation and sharing opportunities via contingent professionals then lost?

This paper reports on an exploratory study suggesting that organizational learning and knowledge creation/transfer goals occur best when contingent professionals work within culturally supported teams. Explicit knowledge was shared readily within all of the organizations studied, whereas tacit knowledge sharing was more likely to occur within those organizations where team structures reinforced culturally and encouraging collaboration, mentorship, creative expression and experimentation were in place. Knowledge creation/transfer activities were further legitimized through the creation of physical and psychological space allocated specifically for knowledge creation purposes. While much knowledge creation and sharing is thought intangible and its effectiveness difficult to measure, our study organizations described tangible benefits of importing/creating knowledge via contingent professionals into culturally aligned teams.


Deborah C. Hurst  (Canada)
Associate Professor, Work and Organization Studies
Centre for Innovative Management
Athabasca University

Dr. Deborah Hurst is an Associate Professor with The Centre for Innovative Management, Athabasca University. Her current research projects include investigation into employers use of contingent knowledge professionals for intellectual capital development, virtual learning and cultural organization change.

Shelley MacDougall  (Canada)

School of Business
Acadia University - Nova Scotia

  • Contingent Knowledge Professionals
  • Teaming
  • Cultural Alignment
  • Collaboration
  • Knowledge Importation

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)