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Title :Network ties, knowledge and best practice transfer in traditional and virtual benchmarking
Creator :Diamanti, Korina
Contributor :Pouloudi, Nancy (Επιβλέπων καθηγητής)
Athens University of Economics and Business, Department of Management Science and Technology (Degree granting institution)
Type :Text
Extent :224p.
Language :en
Abstract :This PhD thesis explores how knowledge on best practice transfers in benchmarking, traditional and virtual, and how various media affect the benchmarking process. More specifically, the research question is formulated as follows: “How is knowledge on best practice transferred during a benchmarking project? (a) What is the organizational context where the transfer takes place? What is the relationship formed between the benchmarking partners? What kind of network ties are developed? (b) What types of knowledge are transferred during the benchmarking process and how? (c) What is the role of media, such as ICT, in benchmarking and how does media richness influence the benchmarking process?” A revised classification of benchmarking types is proposed into: collaborative, cooperative, and competitive, which is based on the formation of network ties between the benchmarking partners. This reveals the potential relationship that the benchmarking partners are likely to have, as well as the potential technological infrastructure that is more likely to be used in each type. This classification also highlights the parallel, temporary, micro-organizational structure that is created between the benchmarking partners to support the transfer of best practices during a benchmarking project. Then, the benchmarking process is analyzed and a benchmarking process model is developed that focuses on the knowledge transfer stage between the partners. The types of knowledge that get transferred through benchmarking are considered and Polanyi’s view is adopted, according to which only explicit knowledge can get transferred. Explicit knowledge refers to knowledge that can be articulated, whether it already is or not. A conceptual model is developed based on knowledge types identified from the extant literature. Then, media richness theory is used to examine the transfer of knowledge on best practices. According to this, it is anticipated that information rich media are more suitable for transferring effectively not articulated, explicit knowledge in benchmarking, while information lean media are adequate for the effective transfer of explicit, already articulated knowledge in benchmarking. Effectiveness is considered in terms of the perceived success of knowledge transfer by the benchmarking team, based on whether most of the knowledge initially identified was finally transferred. A qualitative research methodology was chosen as it is most suitable for examining the complex patterns of knowledge transfer in the benchmarking process in relation to the context where it occurs. Multiple benchmarking projects are examined within the two public organizations. These involve a hospital – that has recently conducted two traditional benchmarking projects – and a public museum – that has recently conducted nine virtual benchmarking projects, two of which electronic. In the museum, high use of digital technology is observed – and in particular of digital camera – in all the benchmarking projects, combined with less than one day site visit to the benchmarking partner. A semi-structured interview agenda was used for the data collection, which lasted for more than one year in both organizations. Also observation was used in three projects of the museum. For the analysis of the cases, pattern matching was used. The thesis reveals how specialized knowledge gets transferred through benchmarking. In addition to the main knowledge transfer from the source to the recipient, an important second step of knowledge transfer is identified in the benchmarking process. This concerns the transfer of knowledge, acquired from the recipient, to other members of the benchmarking team, in order to analyze the findings for decision making. This step and its importance for the transfer of best practices – as different team members are involved – have not been highlighted in the benchmarking literature. Regarding the types of knowledge, tacit knowledge does not appear to get transferred in any benchmarking project. However, the findings indicate that all the other knowledge types, included in the conceptual model, get transferred in benchmarking. media richness, it is observed that the use of digital photographs enhances the acquisition of knowledge on best practices from other team members, in the second step of knowledge transfer identified. Additional explicit, not articulated knowledge is acquired through observation of the digital photographs by team members with different educational backgrounds. An implication of this study concerns revising the classification of rich and lean media based on their capacity to transfer different types of knowledge, as the combination of rich media ranks higher than face-to-face communication. This is because it supports the transfer of more specialized explicit knowledge that is not yet articulated back to the organization. The findings also indicate that in cooperative benchmarking projects, weak ties are formed between the benchmarking partners, while in competitive benchmarking projects, there are absent ties between the benchmarking partners. The association of cooperative and competitive benchmarking projects with weak and absent ties respectively is therefore supported. Future research should focus on testing further the weak ties theory with the benchmarking types that was associated in this study. Apart from examining the suggested association of collaborative benchmarking with strong network ties, further research should also focus on providing quantitative evidence on the suggested associations of all benchmarking types (collaborative, cooperative, and competitive) with network ties (strong, weak, and absent respectively). This will allow for establishing a solid theoretical basis for benchmarking. Moreover, future research should focus on exploring how knowledge transfers through benchmarking in private organizations. Although the benchmarking process is expected to be the same in the public and private sector, my research setting involved public, non profit organizations.
Subject :Benchmarking
Traditional benchmarking
Virtual benchmarking
Date :2009
Licence :

File: Diamanti_2009.pdf

Type: application/pdf