Balancing knowledge strategy: codification and personalization during product development

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PurposeThis paper aims to understand the knowledge strategies followed by product development (PD) units in Indian manufacturing firms. Design/methodology/approachFollowing literature, knowledge strategy was characterized in terms of "codification" and "personalization". A total of 284 employees across 19 different PD units spread across India were surveyed to understand the knowledge strategies followed. Using SPSS, various statistical tests and analyses were conducted. FindingsPersonalization was consistently the preferred strategy across the PD units; however, the balance of personalization and codification was not quite in the 80-20 ratio (one strategy practised predominantly with the other in a supporting role) as suggested by some strands of previous research, and this did not have any strikingly visible negative influences on product development performance. Further, organizations do not differ as much from each other on levels of codification, as they do on personalization. Research limitations/implicationsIn contexts such as product development, it may be important to pursue knowledge strategies with greater equanimity compared with other contexts that previous research has highlighted. The study bears implications not only for the formulation and implementation of knowledge strategies during product development, but also for the body of enquiry into managing knowledge in organizations. Originality/valueThe research contributes to a relatively less researched area in knowledge management and suggests directions for future work in the area.

Keywords: Knowledge management; Product development

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 22, 2011

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