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Improving intranet knowledge transfer through resident engineers

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PurposeThis research paper aims to explore how intranet mechanisms for knowledge transfer in a multinational automotive company can be improved with the inclusion of a human interface, specifically a resident engineer. A resident engineer is an assembly line employee who spends the majority of their time in the Advanced Engineering Center, which aims to improve knowledge transfer through face-to-face interaction. Design/methodology/approachA multinational automotive company was selected for the study. Six years of data containing all product modifications were analyzed. FindingsThe paper concludes that electronic knowledge transfer can be significantly improved when resident engineers physically interact with the Advanced Engineering Center. Intranet knowledge transfer alone cannot overcome the considerable handicap involved in knowledge assimilation. Practical implicationsFor companies with Advanced Engineering Centers located far from assembly-line plants, the creation of specific human mechanisms to explain the knowledge generated and to reduce approval time is indispensable. Originality/valueThis research paper features a complete case study from a multinational automotive company with more than 800 analyzed modifications.

Keywords: Assembly lines; Intranets; Knowledge management

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/13673271111108684

Publication date: February 22, 2011

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