Full citation

Lu, I.Y., Moa, C.J. & Wang, C.H. (2010). Intrafirm Technology and Knowledge Transfer: A Best Practice Perspective. International Journal of Technology Management, 49(4), 338-356.

Format: Peer-reviewed article

Type: Research — Non-experimental

Experience level of reader: Fundamental

Annotation: The authors describe three models that facilitate best practice transfer (technology and knowledge transfer) within firms operating in the semiconductor manufacturing industry: cloning, blending and interacting. Cloning transfers knowledge (and best practices) by making a copy of the original. Blending transfers knowledge (and best practices) from multiple sources into one new source. Interacting facilitates expert interaction and knowledge transfer (and best practices) through communities of practice or knowledge communities.

Setting(s) to which the reported activities/findings are relevant: Large business, Small business (less than 500 employees)

Knowledge user(s) to whom the piece of literature may be relevant: Manufacturers

Knowledge user level addressed by the literature: Organization

This article uses the Commercial Devices and Services version of the NtK Model

Primary Findings

Primary Methods:

  • One way to transfer knowledge (and best practices) is to blend knowledge (and best practices) from multiple sources into one new source (e.g., Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, which also transfers executive knowledge by employing a ‘copy executive’ approach that leverages the executive onsite). Lessons learned are captured in an electronic knowledge management system (knowledge repository), that optimizes knowledge reporting through standardization and knowledge accessibility through codification and indexing. User-friendly coding systems and content submission screening techniques can maximize efficiency and minimize information overload.Culture and incentive systems should encourage sharing.
    Literature review.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Step 3.D, KTA Step 6.D, KTA Step 7.D, Step 1.3
  • One way to transfer knowledge (and best practices) is to facilitate expert interaction through a community of practice (e.g., Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) or a knowledge community (e.g., United Microelectronics Corporation) — charging the experts with a specific knowledge challenge and releasing them to explore solutions. It is a dynamic process involving exploration and exploitation. This approach is typically used to transfer knowledge laterally across business units.
    Literature review.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: Step 1.3, Step 1.1

Secondary Findings

Secondary Method:

One way to transfer knowledge (and best practices) is to make a clone of the original — copying all physical/functional inputs, processes and equipment and outputs (products/services). Examples include developing a template that captures the knowledge and practices and re-applying them (e.g., 7-11 store, McDonalds restaurants, etc.) or making an exact copy (e.g., Intel chip fabrication). This approach is often used to transfer knowledge vertically (e.g., from R&D to manufacturing). Critics raise concerns that the ‘copying’ approach removes (and erodes) employee judgment and problem-solving skills. There are also concerns about the amount of time that may be required to develop a complete template. (Matson [2003])
Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Step 3.D, KTA Step 6.D, KTA Step 7.D, Step 1.3

Secondary Tip:

Tip: Internal transfer of best practices often accounts for a large portion of an organization’s collective knowledge. (O’Dell [1998])