OCIC3K 2015 Abstracts

Short Papers
Paper Nr: 3

Which determinants affect Knowledge Communication in the Matrix Organisation? An empirical analysis in the Aerospace Industry


Alexander Wohlwender and Heinz Mandl

Abstract: In prominent models of Knowledge Management the transfer and distribution of knowledge, summarized under the term of “Knowledge Communication”, is discussed as an essential prerequisite for the utilization of Knowledge. It seems that less attention has been given to the organisational determinants, which may promote or restrain Knowledge Communication. Especially in the light of a growing complexity of Corporate environments it seems necessary to evaluate these factors in detail. Combining works of Organisational Theory and Knowledge Management, theoretical and empirical findings for advantages and disadvantages for the exchange of Knowledge can be identified, in particular for the Matrix Organisation, but the studies mainly date back several years. This study aims to clarify which determinants of Knowledge Communication are relevant in the complex Organisation Form of a Matrix Organisation in complex working tasks. Besides central basic conditions of the Matrix Organisation, technical and individual determinants shall be included in the focus of the analysis. First, these have to be analysed in their relatedness with Knowledge Communication, second they also may be affected by the organisational determinants. The study has been carried out in an organisation in the Aerospace context, in an engineering department of a profit center with 200 employees, which is structured as a Matrix Organisation. The online survey asked for the organisational, technical and individual determinants and the assessed Quality of Knowledge Communication. In doing so, several forms of Knowledge Communication in the Development Process have been distinguished, as the informal, formal, synchronous and asynchronous Communication types. The results of the study show first detailed signs that specific determinants may have an impact on the assessed Quality of Knowledge Communication. For example, organisational determinants showed a differing impact on Communication with regard to Communication type, informal or formal, as well as content, technical or coordinative. Additionally it can be shown that Spatial Proximity of the employees, the Time for Interaction, Leadership and IT-Systems are central factors which have to be considered for the facilitation of Knowledge Communication. The approach to combine the organisational perspective and Knowledge Management seems to be as constructive as the approach to differ not only for different types of Knowledge Communication, but as well for different contents like technical or coordinative contents.