Title: Dynamic information retrieval and allocation flows in project teams with discontinuous membership

Authors: Michelle Shumate, Rahinah Ibrahim, Raymond Levitt

Addresses: Department of Communication, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA. ' Faculty of Design and Architecture, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia. ' Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, CA, USA

Abstract: Project teams with discontinuous membership face unique knowledge management challenges. Team members in various roles create information during early project phases; however, certain of these roles may no longer be part of a project team during subsequent project phases when the knowledge needs to be applied. This research utilises instrumental role theory to examine the dynamics of information allocation and retrieval in a property development project team. We find that discontinuous membership significantly impacts information allocation and retrieval in project teams: continuous team members were more likely to be allocated information in tacit knowledge areas during earlier workflow phases, and they were more likely to retrieve both tacit and explicit information during later workflow phases. These results suggest that discontinuity of roles can result in the loss of key information in knowledge teams. Thus, managers should ensure that continuous team members recognise their role in compensating for such knowledge loss.

Keywords: knowledge management; discontinuous membership; instrumental role theory; property development; social network analysis; information retrieval; allocation flows; project teams; project management; tacit knowledge; knowledge loss.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2010.035589

European Journal of International Management, 2010 Vol.4 No.6, pp.556 - 575

Published online: 30 Sep 2010 *

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