Title: The sharing and transfer of context specific knowledge in a product support environment

Authors: John N. Walsh

Addresses: Department of Management and Marketing, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland

Abstract: Research on knowledge intensive services argues that service firms possess deeper expert knowledge which they co-produce and share with clients and which tends to result in context specific knowledge (Nordin et al., 2011; Edvardsson et al., 2005; Freel, 2006; Wong and He, 2005). A key knowledge development capability is codifying this knowledge to enable its efficient transfer without losing the specialisation and context specific nature from which its value derives. A case study is presented of a knowledge intensive service company providing product support for business clients' technical hardware and software problems through codification of solution procedures within their applicable contexts. This paper examines the effects of codification on how service work is performed and how the client relationship is structured. It finds that increased codification resulted in workers engaging in a number of informal work practices that improved the re-use of codified service procedures, increased their problem-solving capabilities and made the service provision function more efficient for the firm.

Keywords: knowledge intensive firms; product support; service industry; knowledge sharing; knowledge transfer; context specificity; services; context specific knowledge; codification; client relationship; informal work practices; codified service procedures; problem solving; service provision.

DOI: 10.1504/IJKBD.2014.059802

International Journal of Knowledge-Based Development, 2014 Vol.5 No.1, pp.80 - 97

Available online: 14 Mar 2014 *

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