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A leader is a dealer in hope.Napoleon Bonaparte

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Critical Knowledge Transfer

Critical Knowledge Transfer

How can you keep in the organization the knowledge acquired by its employees over the course of their experience?

Author(s): Dorothy Leonard, Walter Swap, Gavin Barton

Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press

Date of publication: 2015

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Every time an expert or highly-qualified worker leaves the company, it is not just a skilled person who is lost, but also a wealth of knowledge accumulated over years in the organization, knowledge born from experience and nurturing the organization’s excellence. However, this knowledge is largely tacit; only a portion can be collected by formalizing best practices or has been materialized by improving tools and procedures. Companies are thus recurrently confronted with the significant risk that this knowledge will erode. How can they limit this phenomenon? This is the question addressed by the authors of Critical Knowledge Transfer. They feel that the first stage is to identify which individuals possess this critical knowledge. This is much harder than it seems, given that a lot of talent is hidden in the intricacies of the organization. They suggest several approaches to reach this goal. Then, they provide guidelines for selecting relevant tools to organize the transfer of knowledge. Chapter 8 describes a summary case study from General Electric. An enriching book based simultaneously on a solid methodological framework and many vivid examples.