Storytelling as knowledge transfer mechanism in construction projects

Jodith K.L. Leung, Sik Wah Fong

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

Projects are classified as a secondary type of organisational form, with limited time and resources, great complexity and new teams each time. Construction projects, as temporary organisations, require varieties of knowledge from different stakeholders to make them work. The varieties of knowledge required are a mixture of explicit and tacit knowledge, for example standard materials testing procedures, as well as understanding and experience gained from previous project work. Construction projects are dynamic in nature, no two projects are exactly the same, and knowledge has to be applied by project team members very quickly each time based on their experiences, insights and intuition. These experiences, insights, and intuition can be part of their tacit knowledge. Therefore, tacit knowledge that is stored in individual team members, heads is particularly crucial to construction projects, as it is not externalised into documents or tangible formats. This is because tacit knowledge is not easily transferred or codified as it is highly experiential, judgmental, and context-specific. The story is regarded as a primary method that humans have used to understand situations since the beginning of history. Recently, storytelling has been widely applied in management and organisational practices, aiming to achieve specific business goals through its functions. Storytelling, treated as a potential method of transferring tacit knowledge, has been discussed by scholars in educational and organisational contexts. This paper aims to explore storytelling as a knowledge transfer mechanism that can be applied in construction project environments. This paper, through an in-depth review of the use of storytelling as a means for knowledge transfer from other industrial sectors based on the specific nature of construction projects and the knowledge types in the construction industry, determines possible usages of storytelling in construction projects in terms of knowledge transfer. The findings provide insights into the role of storytelling in construction projects in terms of knowledge transfer, and illustrate the path of optimum applications of storytelling to transfer knowledge in construction projects for future study.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2nd International Postgraduate Conference on Infrastructure and Environment, IPCIE 2010
Pages353-360
Number of pages8
Volume1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010
Event2nd International Postgraduate Conference on Infrastructure and Environment, IPCIE 2010 - Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 1 Jun 20102 Jun 2010

Conference

Conference2nd International Postgraduate Conference on Infrastructure and Environment, IPCIE 2010
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
CityHong Kong
Period1/06/102/06/10

Keywords

  • Construction industry
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Project-based
  • Storytelling
  • Tacit knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science(all)

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