Keywords: competitive advantage, knowledge management, organisational learning
Knowledge orientations and team effectiveness
The critical importance of knowledge as a resource has been recognised in recent years and many firms are looking at how they can make their knowledge base accessible and use it effectively. Within the aerospace industry, recent initiatives - including concurrent engineering, project teams and multi-functional working - have heightened the concern with managing knowledge. The literature contains a profusion of prescriptive work on knowledge management, but relatively little attention has been paid to describing how knowledge is actually managed by technical specialists within organisations. This paper describes empirical work on how aerospace engineers acquire, disseminate and store technical knowledge. On the basis of this research, we propose an outline theory of the dimensions relevant to learning and knowledge management within organisations. We conclude with a critical review of how technical knowledge can be systematically managed at the level of the team and the potential difficulties that may be generated for learning within organisations.