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Optimal knowledge transfer methods: a Generation X perspective

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Abstract:

PurposeThis research study seeks so explore the thoughts and perspectives of Generation X aerospace engineers regarding strategies, processes, and methods to enhance the transfer of knowledge from Baby Boomers to Generation X aerospace engineers. Design/methodology/approachThe qualitative Delphi research method is a formalized process designed to extract opinions from a panel of experts in an anonymous and iterative manner. The strength of the technique lies in its ability to gather a diverse range of opinions in an anonymous fashion without the bias of a single individual dominating the discussion. FindingsData collected from the Generation X participants helped to answer the study research questions. According to the 24 Generation X study panelists, optimal knowledge transfer requires visible and participative management involvement. Management support is the core of a knowledge-sharing culture that fosters open and honest communication, respectful and trusting relationships, effective mentoring relationships, dynamic team environments, co-location of team members, and a technology infrastructure. Synthesis of the data results from all survey rounds assisted in the creation of a knowledge transfer model. Research limitations/implicationsThe first limitation is the sample size. Another limitation was the predominantly male demographic within the aerospace community. The study did not involve any attempt to examine different perspectives based on race, gender, or geographic location. The scope of the research questions asked and the research methodology employed to extract thoughts, feelings, and perspectives from the Delphi panelists limited the study. Originality/valueThe study is unique because it offers the perspective of a population critical to the survival of organizational knowledge within the aerospace community, the Generation X engineers. The contributions of the study may provide leaders with knowledge transfer methods, strategies, and processes to mitigate knowledge transfer barriers, create an optimal knowledge transfer domain, and facilitate intergenerational knowledge transfer.

Keywords: Age groups; Knowledge management

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/13673271011015543

Publication date: February 23, 2010

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