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Facilitating knowledge transfer in virtual teams through a social network approach

  • Bosch-Sijtsema, Petra M.
  • Rispens, Sonja

    (Groningen University)

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    Due to geographical dispersion and high use of information technology in virtual settings, face-to-face communication and therefore transfer of knowledge is made more difficult in virtual teams. Virtual teams (VT) are characterized by geographical dispersion, use of IT for communication, members have little history, members have organizational and cultural heterogeneity and members have lateral and weak relationships (Wong & Burton, 2000). We developed a theoretical framework with the use of one case study (a virtual team) description, in which a social network approach was applied in order to stimulate communication, and hence the transfer of knowledge concerning different knowledge areas. We found that by applying a social network approach and evaluating and re-using the data with the VT members the communication structure within the dispersed team became clearer. Furthermore, two types of knowledge transfer were stimulated: organizational knowledge transfer (how to organize a virtual team) and task knowledge transfer (how to solve a problem). Furthermore, it was found that the social context (trust and friendship) facilitated knowledge transfer.

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    Paper provided by University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management) in its series Research Report with number 03B31.

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    Date of creation: 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:dgr:rugsom:03b31
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