Informal Knowledge Transfer Mechanisms: The Case of Smes Operating In High-Velocity Environments
It is commonly recognized in the literature that effectively transferring knowledge internally is of critical importance for organizations to be able to maintain their competitive edge in the industry. Despite the strategic connotation of intra-firm knowledge transfer, little empirical evidence exists on informal mechanisms put in place by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in high-velocity environments to mobilize and create tacit knowledge among organizational members. The purpose of this study is to uncover informal mechanisms that allow the mobilization of tacit bodies of knowledge within the firm and explore the contextual conditions that enable their emergence in organizations. Adopting an inductive research design, I performed several non-participant observations and semi-structured interviews across different hierarchical levels in 8 SMEs operating in the software industry. The study results indicate that informal processes aiming at transferring knowledge internally exhibited a high level of variance in terms of their genesis, nature, dynamics, and outcomes. A number of theoretical and practical implications and priorities for future research are discussed in the concluding section of this article.
Keywords - Knowledge transfer, informal processes, software industry, high-velocity environments