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Fostering Knowledge Transfer and Learning in Shift Work Environments
The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Business School.
2015 (English)In: Knowledge and Process Management, ISSN 1092-4604, E-ISSN 1099-1441, Vol. 22, no 1, 22-33 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Shift work is a continuous ‘round-the-clock’ work practice that involves rotating work schedules with a vital process of ‘handover’ denoting a change of teams between shifts. Handover as an activity requires that outgoing shift teams pass on insights and responsibility to incoming shift teams. Knowledge transfer in shift work environments is therefore crucial to allow for a seamless continuation of work practices between shifts. Studies in shift work indicate that knowledge transfer between shifts often fails—that is, incoming workers tend to solve problems with inadequate information, have an incomplete understanding of significant events that occurred in prior shifts, while workers often attempt to solve the same problems across different shifts. This study investigates the challenges associated with shift handover and proposes knowledge transfer enablers that can make a difference to handover. In addition, these enablers can foster learning, a process often overlooked in shift environments. A qualitative research methodology was used to study three distinctive case organisations in the manufacturing and educational sectors, where the nature of day-to-day work is shift-bound and transfer issues were present during handover processes. Our findings suggest that three enablers facilitate knowledge transfer problems associated with shift work: (1) a purposeful knowledge codification and classification culture, (2) open access to established boundary objects and boundary spanners and (3) a unified information infrastructure to facilitate knowledge transfer during shifts and handover.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley Publishing, 2015. Vol. 22, no 1, 22-33 p.
Keyword [en]
knowledge transfer, knowledge codification, learning, shift work, manufacturing
National Category
Economics and Business Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122203DOI: 10.1002/kpm.1456OAI: diva2:865517
Available from: 2015-10-28 Created: 2015-10-28 Last updated: 2015-11-11Bibliographically approved

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Venkitachalam, Krishna
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Stockholm Business School
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