Inderscience Publishers

Knowledge management practices applied within a TSO: the role of technical responsibility centres

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In this paper, we point out the crucial role of a 'Community–of–Practices' (COP) for a knowledge intensive organisation as a Technical Safety Organisation (TSO) in the nuclear field. These COPs, called Technical Responsibility Centres (TRCs) within the Belgian TSO, are non–hierarchical networks of typically 36 experts, active in a well–defined technical domain. The paper shows the strong impact of TRCs on knowledge 'building blocks' (identification, acquisition, development, distribution, utilisation and retention). More specifically, we want to argue that the hybrid TRC framework enables effective trade–offs between knowledge management tensions (tacit–explicit, individual–collective…) and raises new avenues concerning the manageability of COP debate.

Keywords: nuclear knowledge management, COP, communities of practice, TSO, technical safety organisations, hybrid organisational form, Belgium, nuclear safety, nuclear energy, nuclear power

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