Knowledge transfer strategies in companies and organizations
Knowledge transfer refers to the cognizable hand-over of knowledge and understanding of a business. This will normally be in terms of products of companies, organizational structure, working space, and general knowledge of one’s stance and functionality at the company. Many prolific companies and organizations have put in place mechanisms of improving their transactions by adopting a more focused bias towards enabling their human resource. Multi-national companies like, Coca-Cola, Nokia, The Hiltons, G4S, and P&G have always embraced knowledge transfer to their employees and the public. They have put in place, mechanisms that support easy and simplified learning and knowledge creation. The methods adopted include; existence of training opportunities, provision of incentives to better informed employees, idea dissemination structures, appraisal meetings, and general re-training of staff to match company requirements (Metcalfe, 2010). Whatever method employed by the Company, there still arise problems and challenges in implementing a successful knowledge transfer aura.
The Nokia Inc. is seen as one of the companies that juggle challenges of enforcing a fully-fledged knowledge transfer program. The problems encountered range from, within the Company to the outside frontiers. As much as the Company heavily invests in training and re-training its employees, there exist personal learning issues of the persons involved. People have different learning ability, and Nokia being an IT-savvy Company, means problems are likely to arise for some employees. Belsis et al., (2005), note that well informed employees increase the productivity of the company. Another problem has been competence and governance. Sometimes when there are office transitions in Company branches, there has been a lot of politicking and influenced leadership transitions. This often kills the morale of the employees, who lose trust and obedience to the in-coming leader of the office.
Competence is also sometimes interfered with in this type of office undertaking. When an in-competent employee takes over, he/she waters down the agility of the company to perform. His capacity is low and therefore, the company mission may fail to materialize. Thirdly, there is the problem of in-house cycle (Kant et al., 2008). Nokia has been struggling with the challenge of in-house cycling of products before eventually being released to the market. This leads to some members withdrawing from backing reasonable changes in the company as they feel that the end products of their efforts may not be seen. When the product is delayed, therefore profitability and functionality is degraded. This is a big problem that needs to be countered.
There are also knowledge codification challenges. Nokia has a large database of products and services. A major problem is encountered when trying to code the training program to fit a lay man’s description. This is a challenge especially on the fact that Nokia is a highly sophisticated enterprise company. Its gadgetry requires exceptional expertise to understand or operate. The public who are not well informed or educated will definitely find the product or service complicated to use or understand. Some regions, for instance some parts in Africa where learning is crippled means problems in harnessing the people to adopt its products. However Nokia has tried to cub this by embarking on a serious awareness campaign, ranging from commercials; social corporate responsibility activities, and direct one to one interactions with its clients (Nokia). It has also employed directors from the local areas to have a direct grasp of the scenario on the ground. This is a vital program in harnessing market advantage over rivals (Burden et al., 2000).
There is also not only the problem of expressing tacit knowledge, but also when new knowledge wants to replace old tacit knowledge (Akhavan et al., 2006). The Company will often struggle with this type of challenge, for a while because the mechanisms, structures and the personnel involved will need to undergo a reappraise in order to match the new knowledge. This can be illustrated; by the way Nokia’s business has evolved from a simple model phone, into a worldwide web of business interrelations. It therefore dictates that, databases and other systems had to be laid down in order to track its business transaction. The change from manual systems to electronic system is a clear example of how shift can lead to problems of adaptability.
The Hiltons, just like Nokia and other Companies have put in place some strategies that foresee in-house training for its recruits. Members who are selected are placed under training to ensure that they acquire the standards maintained in the hotel industry (Wharton, 2001). They also conduct seminars, tutorials, presentations and employee meetings where skills are discussed and passed to other junior members.
Other Companies, like G4S have advanced their own methods of training. They have developed their own training schools, where graduates are trained on management programs (specifically to fit in their line of business) (G4S). They also use idea generation to pass knowledge. Employees are encouraged to come up with their own ideas and try to inculcate them in-line with the business. They are then absorbed by the company and recommended for every member of the company. Communication is also employed. Members are communicated to through, oral speaking, apprenticeship (learning by observing), and in written form. Practical sessions are also taken into consideration in ensuring the employees are adequately informed of their duties. The trainings and other methods advanced have been integral in the success of G4S as multinational company.
Nokia Inc., on the other hand has had an impeccable display in its knowledge transfer methods. Its various skill enhancement program have seen it bypass other companies in the telecommunication industry. For instance there is on-job training of workers, management functions, knowledge strategies, workshops, seminars, conference meetings, product orientations and sponsored researches within the company.
In management functions, employees are given responsibilities and then monitored, coached, and facilitated before officially taking over (Manuel, 2008). This ensures harmonious transfer of skills from the incumbent employee to in-coming. This has led to proper management of its business ventures.
The Coca Cola Company on the other hand has employed a lot of various skills. There has been use of heavy training of its members in organized sessions, seminars, and appraisal meetings. Commercials have also been heavily used, through brochures, posters, and area level management. Just as Akhavan, (2006), states, employing managers from the local areas is harnessing the whole local region into awareness of the products of a company. This has augured well in the franchising and commercialization of its products. Its methods have proven versatile in boosting the company’s profit margins.
Procter and Gamble on the hand have biased their knowledge transfer skills entirely on in-house training, seminars, tutorials, and commercial advertisements. This has easily paid off with broad expansion in market winning in the countries it transacts business.
The methods used have had impeccable transitions but still more has to be done. It is a bare fact that these methods have been effective in leading to major expansions in the companies under scrutiny. The Companies should open their doors into the corporate world, universities, and other training institutions. These will ensure that the taskforce behind their products are properly trained. Implementing this will lead to easy entry into the face of the job market. They should also put in place mechanisms that enhance easier knowledge transfer. These include simplified codification of training manuals, embrace of technology, and approachability. Companies should also reach for the common citizen in countries of business through extensive and intensive campaigns. This will create awareness not only to its employees but also to the public who may take part in promoting its business empires.
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http://www. g4s. com/
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Nokia Website. Available at:
http://www. nokia. com/ph-en/
Proctor & Gamble Website:
http://www. pg. com/en_US/index. shtml
Wharton, J. A. (2001). Building the cold war: Hilton international hotels and modern architecture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Pp. 4-45
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