Managing knowledge in times of organizational re-structuring
This thesis is located within the area of Knowledge Management and focuses on enhancing the transfer of knowledge. The research investigated how organisations manage knowledge in times of major restructuring. The research used Action Research to establish a collaborative partnership with the client organisation and to enable a cyclical approach to the research activity with ongoing involvement that allows feedback to be gathered as the research progresses. There was concern that knowledge was being lost and ways needed to be developed to stem the haemorrhage due to the movement of people to different posts or their departure from the organisation. Consequently the importance of the research for the Post Office was established in the first phase of the research. The research was based on interviews with managers in the Post Office and other selected organisations. Interview analyses showed differences in approaches to managing knowledge, often depending on their organisational epistemology. Consequently it was possible to build a framework for managing knowledge in times of change. The model was explored further within the Post Office to establish its validity and reliability and practical use for managers. Overall, the research recognises the potential for improved processes that, if applied effectively at the appropriate planning juncture, could result in improved identification and transfer of knowledge during times of major organisational restructuring. The research contributes to theory by identifying the critical period of transaction when a change or restructuring activity is underway. It also contributes by the exploration of two existing knowledge management process models and development of two ancillary models that enable the working of knowledge processes to be understood in greater detail. The research contributes to managerial practice by the development of a practical working framework enabling an organisation to make practical use of the research. By using the model organisations and those managing change will be able to support their thinking and trigger knowledge assessment, capture and transfer activities in a systematic way. Key words: Knowledge management; Knowledge processes; Knowledge transfer; Organisational restructuring; Change management.