Maximising the outcome of University to Industry Knowledge Transfer
Alexander, Allen Thomas
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
to publish papars containing material from thesis
The transfer of knowledge between universities and industry has received considerable attention throughout the last 20 years. The study of knowledge and its relationship to commercial advantage and innovation is popular in management research. The majority of this research considers knowledge transfer at a society or company level, however, there is an absence of research that focuses at a project level and considers the day-today practices involved in transferring knowledge, back and forth, between universities and commercial organisations. This research focuses on this aspect of knowledge transfer by undertaking a range of theory-building activities to develop a new understanding of the practice of transferring knowledge in this context. Adopting an inductive methodological approach, aligned with a ‘social constructivist’ paradigm, the research develops a number of questions from the literature. The questions are then explored by reference to experienced participants from ‘real’ knowledge transfer projects, using participant enquiry methods. A number of practical frameworks are proposed. The appropriateness of these is further explored using participant interaction techniques – where research interventions are developed and applied in ‘live’ knowledge transfer projects. The results suggest that by raising participant’s awareness of the inherent properties of knowledge, the outcomes of knowledge transfer projects may be strengthened. By focussing on standardised frameworks for interaction and suggesting practical activities that can be carried out before and during knowledge transfer projects, a focus can be achieved on improving the outcomes of the projects respectively. The wider implication of this work could be in the development of policy interventions, practical management guidelines and knowledge transfer ‘best practice’. In addition, the practical tools and techniques developed could also form the basis for further evaluative research. This could be used to compare organisations’ competences and services, which could, in turn, advise the strategies of industrial organisations, universities and knowledge transfer intermediaries.
PhD in Engineering