The Impact of Knowledge Transfer on Organizational Culture: A Case Study of Egyptian Echo-Cardiologists' Pre and Post Training Programs.

Author:ElKhouly, Sayed Elsayed
Position:Case study


The aim of this study is to examine whether knowledge transfer of training courses in the area of echo-cardiography has served its purpose in developing a better human being and a more accomplished health provider on both personal and professional levels. Also, the effect of this transfer of knowledge on the organizational culture they work in, in terms of work environment hostility and peer rivalry, is assessed. The impact of this transfer of knowledge is compared between pre and post implementation of these programs. The results are based on the trainees' point of view.

The growing population and the very high rate of unemployment in Egypt make it very competitive to find a job. Regular university graduates find it difficult to find decent jobs with only their bachelor degrees. Striving for better quality of life, graduates from all disciplines seek another path to improve their skills through attaining training programs. Cardiologists are no different. as they are seeking a marketing niche for their skills through attending these programs.

Undergoing those training courses has nurtured the work environment with its needs in this area. Being a new field of training, the cultural effect of those programs needs to be determined in order to provide a better understanding of the field both practically and theoretically.


Knowledge Transfer and Culture?

Knowledge and its creation are among the most important things to achieve competitiveness in this global market. However, there are some barriers that stand tall in the face of achieving this competitiveness. These barriers are considered to be the same on both personal and organizational levels. "Culture" is one of the barriers that stands in the face of both effective and efficient transfer of knowledge. Also, the act of knowledge transfer affects the culture, which consequently affects the individual.

According to Mcelroy and Firestone (2003), knowledge management has to undertake the tough task of changing organizational culture so as to achieve the organization's full knowledge reservoir.

Weissenberger-Eibl (2005a) has stated that there are four parameters of knowledge management which directly affect the culture. Those parameters are; human resources, methodological approaches, technology and organization. Those parameters can change the individual response to developing innovation regarding their jobs.

For every organization or individual, there are some distinguishing properties. Those properties have been stated by Lazarsfeld and Menzel (1961) and then used by Terhune (1970). Those three distinguishing properties are; Analytical Properties describing the individuals of the system such as:

* Average salary

* Per capita income

* Number of accumulative sick days

Structural Properties describing the relations of the members such as:

* Extent of inequality of power

* Intensity of conflict behavior

* Inequality of training

* Intensity of cooperative behavior

Global Properties derived from information about the collective, not individuals, such as:

* Achievement orientation

* Self-realization orientation

* Power orientation

According to Rosienstiel (2000) and Th[beta]bus (2001), knowledge is transferred from individuals or groups or organizations to a similar entity, which is considered to be a job-oriented handling over of knowledge.

The findings of Holden (2001), Moffett et al. (2002), Glisby and Holden (2003), and Holden and Von Kortzfleisch (2004) agree that in most cases the impact of culture on knowledge and its transfer are not conducted in the proper way.

Also, Bhabat/Kedia (2002) found that the specific norms and values of both the sender and receiver of knowledge affects the transfer process.


There are different definitions of culture. For instance, according to Hofstede (1993, 2001), culture is "a collective programming of the mind."

Schein (1985) defined organizational culture as the tacit or implicit knowledge that the working individuals has which consequently reflects how the group behaves.

But Bodley (2000) summarized the definitions of the culture into eight dimensions:

* Topical: stating that culture is a list of titles or topics, such as social organization or economy

* Historical: basing its assumption, as the culture is the set of historic events or traditions passed on to the next generations

* Behavioral: this is collective group knowledge and responses to environment stimuli

* Normative: based on the collective norms, ideas, and beliefs that people go by

* Functional: the ways people or groups use to solve problems and process their daily challenges

* Mental: the set of ideas, complex problem solving, and ways that differentiate humans from other species

* Structural: the general patterns, ideas, and stereotypes that people go by

* Symbolic: illustrating what societies use to define situations and communicate with

Knowledge Transfer

According to previous research, the term knowledge management is hard to define, but we will try to attempt it.

According to Wolf (1998, pp. 1-3), knowledge is the organized information that we can use to solve problems.

Also, Sowa (1984, pp. 1-3) states that "Knowledge encompasses the implicit and explicit restrictions based upon objects(entities), operations and relationships, along with general and specific heuristics and inference procedures involved in the situation being modeled. "

But to Stanley (2003) the term knowledge refers to "a dynamic mix of information, ideas and experience which is socially constructed and contextually bound, and which is...

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