Faculty Scholarship 1994 - Present

Knowledge Transfer in Virtual Systems Development Teams: An Exploratory Study of Four Key Enablers

Knowledge transfer among geographically separated members is recognized as a critical ingredient for collaborative accomplishment of work in virtual teams. However, due to the "localness" of knowledge, such transfer of knowledge is believed to be inherently problematic; thus, it is important to develop a solid understanding of the factors that enable knowledge transfer in such contexts. Drawing on existing literature on knowledge management and virtual teamwork, we identify four Cs (communication, capability, credibility, and culture) associated with individuals who transfer significant amounts of knowledge to remote members. Next, we test the four Cs in the context of US-Norwegian virtual teams engaged in systems development. The volume of communication, the credibility of the communicator, and the nature of cultural values held (i.e., collectivism) by the communicator were found to significantly predict the extent of knowledge transferred; although, contrary to expectations, capability was not found to have a significant influence. A number of implications for virtual team participants and professional communicators are articulated. Avenues for future research are also suggested.