Winning the Knowledge Transfer Race

Book Winning the Knowledge Transfer Race

Using Your Company's Knowledge Assets to Get Ahead of the Competition





  • Analytical
  • Eye Opening
  • Background


This book is full of insight, if you can penetrate its academic heft. Michael J. English and William H. Baker Jr. clearly have thought long and deeply about knowledge management and the practice of knowledge transfer. They’ve done their research, they define their terms in depth and they provide abundant examples. As a reference text, this book is superior. However, despite the authors’ overarching metaphor of the “knowledge transfer race,” the book is so dense it is easy to imagine executives shelving it as an authoritative sourcebook, but implementing suggestions from less informed but more accessible authors. More than once, English and Baker slow down to answer all objections and define their terms until their momentum grinds to a halt. Other attempts to serve the reader stall similarly. For example, their attempt to help readers classify best practices results in a 14-page outline. Yes, each point in the outline indicates a potentially valuable action, but getAbstract – while regarding this book with respect and admiration – fears few readers will make it through such exhaustive explanations, and recommends it primarily as a serious reference work that will reward your efforts to penetrate it.


Why “Knowledge Transfer” – and Why a Race?

Knowledge management is good, but it is not enough. To be competitive, you need to engage in “knowledge transfer.” Knowledge management focuses on making knowledge available for employees where and when they need it; knowledge transfer emphasizes the “discovery and reuse” of knowledge. Companies should build “knowledge-enabled cultures” that continually seek learning. Such cultures produce “intellectual capital” and convert knowledge to profits.

The goal is to align all the elements of your organization to support and emphasize knowledge transfer, and to practice it quickly and systematically. When you learn a “best practice,” methodically apply it across the board, as appropriate. And why is this a race? Well, first, business is a competition and you want to win. Second, information technology advances are making it easier to transfer data and capture knowledge, so the competition is heating up. Awareness of the centrality of intellectual capital is spreading throughout the economy. Third, the baby boom demographic bulge is about to retire, and your organization will lose a living library when it goes. You must race to capture...

About the Authors

Michael J. English, co-author of Benchmarking for Best Practices, is a partner in a consulting practice. Recently retired from Raytheon, William H. Baker Jr. is vice president for programs at the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, Southwest Region.

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