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Exploring Knowledge Transfer and Knowledge Building at Offshore Technical Support Centers

This is an exploratory investigation into knowledge transfer and knowledge building processes observed at offshore Technical Support Centers (TSCs) in China. Utilizing a multiple case study approach, the study examines how knowledge was transferred from the US-based support center to the China-based offshore support center, and how individuals and the organization built and expanded knowledge in a dynamic changing business context. The field cases were three Technical Support Centers in China. Three models were developed from the qualitative analysis of the field data to explain how knowledge is transferred and built in offshore TSCs. The knowledge transfer type adoption model identifies the relationships amongst the levels of knowledge (novice, advanced beginner, competency, and proficiency), the types of knowledge and the knowledge transfer approaches (structured transfer stages, unstructured copy, unstructured adaptation, and unstructured fusion). The basic individual tacit knowledge building model shows that tacit knowledge is acquired and built through two continuous knowledge building loops, an explicit learning loop and an implicit learning loop. The organizational knowledge building model demonstrates the interaction amongst knowledge flow, absorptive capacity, knowledge stock and knowledge intermediary in offshore knowledge transfer and building within the three levels (individual, group and organization levels) of the SECI spiral (socialization, externalization, combination and internalization). The three models provide new insights into the knowledge transfer process for different levels of knowledge acquisition, individual tacit knowledge building processes and organizational knowledge building processes in an offshore outsourcing business context. By applying these models to appropriate field situations, both practitioners and academics may be able to gain a deeper understanding of knowledge transfer approaches, be able to better guide new employees’ expertise and confidence building through controlled and monitored experiential learning process, and be able to improve understanding of how knowledge is built and evolves within organizations.
Type of thesis
Chen, J. (2010). Exploring Knowledge Transfer and Knowledge Building at Offshore Technical Support Centers (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/4836
University of Waikato
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