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Common Knowledge : How Companies Thrive By Sharing What They Know Dixon, Nancy M. Harvard Business School Press 0875849040 9780875849041 9780585258171 English Organizational learning, Business enterprises-Communication systems, Intellectual cooperation, Information networks--Economic aspects, Success in business. 2000 HD58.82.D585 2000eb 658.4/5 Organizational learning, Business enterprises-Communication systems, Intellectual cooperation, Information networks--Economic aspects, Success in business.
How Companies Thrive by Sharing What They Know
Nancy M. Dixon
Harvard Business School Press Boston, Massachusetts
Copyright 2000 President and Fellows of Harvard College All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America 04 03 02 01 00 5 4 32 1 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Dixon, Nancy M., 1937Common knowledge: how companies thrive by sharing what they know / Nancy M. Dixon. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0875849040 (alk. paper) 1. Organizational learning. 2. Business enterprisesCommunication systems. 3. Intellectual cooperation. 4. Information networks-Economic aspects. 5. Success in business. I. Title. HD58.82 .D585 2000 658.4'5-dc21
The paper used in this publication meets the requirements of the American National Standard for Permanence of Paper for Publications and Documents in Libraries and Archives Z39.481992.
FOR MY SONS WHOSE LIVES HAVE SO GREATLY ENRICHED MY OWN: STEPHEN DIXON JOHNSON RICHARD SCOTT JOHNSON
Acknowledgments 1 Introduction 2 Creating and Leveraging Common Knowledge 3 Serial Transfer 4 Near Transfer 5 Far Transfer 6 Strategic Transfer 7 Expert Transfer 8 Looking Across the Five Types of Knowledge Transfer 9 Building an Integrated System for Knowledge Transfer Notes Index About the Author ix 1 17 33 53 77 99 127 143 161 175 179 187
In the course of writing this book many organizations opened their doors to me so I could gain a comprehensive understanding of how they were transferring knowledge. I owe a great deal to the individuals who spent time being interviewed and who paved the way to give me access to others in their organizations. In each of these organizations I talked with dozens of people, but it is particularly important to thank: Dar Wolford and Stan Kwiecien at Ford; Greta Lydecker and Gary Fischer at Chevron; Rick Longbrake and Bob Wacker at Texas Instruments; Nick Milton and Kent Greenes at British Petroleum; Johnathan Ungerleider, Ruddy Ruggles, Ralph Poole, Dale Neef, and Mare Rasmussen at Ernst & Young; Cheryl Lamb and Melissie Rumizen at Buckman Labs; Candice Phelan at Lockheed Martin; Raleigh Amos, Fred Dkystra, Tim Horst, and Doug Omichinski at Bechtel; James T. Stensvaag and Ed Guthrie of the U.S. Army; and Stephen Denning and Seth Kahan at The World Bank.
I have had long-term relationships with colleagues at Conoco and I am grateful for their support and the conversations that helped develop these ideas. They include: Sallie Hightower, David Nelson, Dennis Stephen, Mac Curtis, Dennis Wolf, and Brian Hall, among many others. There are a host of other colleagues who also inspire and encourage my ongoing efforts: Doris Adams, who I can always count on for a careful and thoughtful response; Marieeve Marchand, whose ideas push my own; Catherine Fitzgerald, whose breadth of knowledge keeps me humble; and Rick Ross, my colleague and sometimes coauthor, who provides very helpful, practical insight.
Chapter 1 Introduction
A great cartoon in the New Yorker some years back showed two venerable men, obviously scientists, sitting back to back at their respective desks. One says to the other, "It's just come to my attention that we've both been working...
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