Modern Project Management

(ISSN: 2317-3963)

Using Patterns to Capture and Transfer Tacit Knowledge in Virtual Project Teams

Stefan Kögl
Gilbert Silvius
LOI University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands, and University of Johannesburg, South Africa Netherlands


As companies are globalizing, projects involving people from multiple locations are more common. Personal interaction between team members in such virtual project teams is limited in several ways. One of the functions of personal interaction in projects is the transfer of knowledge. While explicit knowledge can be shared in written form, tacit knowledge is usually shared through personal interaction. The limited personal interaction in virtual teams therefore provides constraints for the exchange of tacit knowledge. The pattern method is a way of capturing and encoding tacit knowledge in a structured written form. This chapter reports a study that tested the applicability of the pattern method for the capturing and transferring of tacit knowledge in virtual project teams. In a quasi-experiment, the study evaluated how this method compares to unstructured email communication for the purpose of tacit knowledge transfer. The participants generally preferred reading patterns over unstructured text and preferred the pattern method in situations that were more formalized and structured.

Keywords: Virtual teams, Project teams, Knowledge transfer, Tacit knowledge, Pattern method.



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