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IFKAD 2017 Special Tracks

Knowledge management in team dynamics: Key issues and challenges for knowledge intensive organizations
Nowadays, organizations perform several knowledge-intensive activities (e.g., learning, innovating, and knowledge sourcing) to achieve durable and sustainable competitive advantage. In particular, firms face such activities by establishing working teams. Indeed, teams appear to be particularly able to adapt to changing market conditions because of their capacity to generate new solutions and solve complex problems very quickly. Thereby, effective processes of knowledge management (KM) within teams are pivotal to firm survival, such that understanding firm performance (i.e., innovative, financial, and efficiency performance) involves examining the dynamics of KM processes in teams. Thus, the question of how teams use knowledge-based resources to achieve high levels of performance has become of foremost importance.
Despite this question is not new to the literature, some themes are still understudied and are therefore of interest for this track. For instance, a first theme reflects the issue of team composition. Specifically, teams may be composed of members having distinct characteristics such as age, experiences, personality traits, paths, and career histories. In turn, team composition choices affect the cooperative dynamics, as well as the cognitive and operational KM capabilities of teams. However, the existing insights linking team composition and KM capabilities are contradictory and require further investigation.
Furthermore, the presence of communication barriers limiting knowledge sharing in teams cannot be underestimated. Therefore, in-depth analyses on the mechanisms that may potentially encourage persistent knowledge sharing (e.g., social interaction mechanisms and extrinsic incentives) would provide an important theoretical contribution. Particularly, these analyses may relate to tacit knowledge sharing, explicit knowledge sharing, and team creativity and innovation. In this context, effective human resource (HR) practices (e.g., brainstorming, training, and job rotation) may be used to stimulate the creativity of teams' members as well as to increase trust among colleagues, which may improve information sharing and integration, so leading to better innovation and financial performance. However, findings about the effects of such HR practices are not conclusive. It must be also mentioned that most of the extant research focuses on team capabilities in managing and applying internal knowledge. However, the search and acquisition of external knowledge are gaining more and more relevance. Nonetheless, detailed investigations about the mechanisms that teams may adopt to support these processes have yet to be provided. Moreover, according to the emerging multilevel perspective, effectiveness of KM in teams cannot be solely explained by team-related factors, but it is also contingent upon lower levels factors (e.g., factors at the single individual level) and higher level factors (e.g., factors at the organizational or network levels). Consequently, multilevel studies are warmly suggested to better comprehend how factors at different levels of analysis influence KM in team dynamics.
Finally, new types of teams are emerging, as the case of virtual teams. Thanks to the evolution of ICT tools and the geographic distribution of relevant knowledge, multinational corporations strongly depend on virtual teams, which are however more difficult to coordinate as compared to co-located teams. Moreover, problems related to knowledge sharing and integration characterizing co-located teams are exacerbated for virtual teams, due to cultural and geographic distances. Thereby, designing a framework that would assist organizations in understanding how KM processes vary and may be more effective in virtual teams represents a timely line of inquiry

According to the foregoing discussion, the present track welcomes high quality research that provides novel insights on how to improve KM processes in team dynamics in order to enhance organizational performance. In detail, we encourage the submission of papers that examine novel phenomena, employ original methodologies, and offer interesting theoretical and empirical contributions to these research themes. Possible topics include - but are not limited to - the following domains of inquiry:
  • Pros and cons of the use of teams to manage knowledge
  • When and how a team-based approach in KM is more effective to enhance organizational performance
  • How team composition affects KM capabilities
  • The team KM mechanisms that stimulate creativity and innovation
  • Co-creation of knowledge by teams of diverse composition
  • Mechanisms to promote knowledge sharing and integration within teams
  • Mechanisms and processes that teams may use to support knowledge acquisition
  • Moderating effects of single individual characteristics and organizational factors on the relationship between team KM capabilities and organizational performance
  • HR practices to improve team KM capabilities
  • KM practices in virtual teams

Team knowledge management, Team working, Team knowledge sharing, Team creativity, Team cooperation, Team innovation, Team composition, Virtual teams

Francesco Paolo Appio | Pôle Universitaire Léonard de Vinci, France
Lorenzo Ardito | Polytechnic University of Bari, Italy
Angelo Natalicchio | Polytechnic University of Bari, Italy
Tommaso Savino | Polytechnic University of Bari, Italy
Francesco Schiavone | Parthenope University of Naples, Italy