Knowledge Retention and Transfer in an IT Community of Practice: Leader and Former Participant Perspectives

Knowledge Retention and Transfer in an IT Community of Practice: Leader and Former Participant Perspectives

Author: 
Marisa A. J. Stones
Program of study: 
D.M.
Abstract: 
The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study which evolved into a collective case study was to gain a deeper understanding of knowledge retention and transfer practices within an information technology (IT) inter-organizational community of practice. The study involved analyzing structured interview responses from six trainee, seven leaders and two government leader participants in the Bermuda-based program who had experienced knowledge retention and transfer within the social environment, as well as an analysis of relevant documentation to identify emergent themes. Eight themes identified through the data were learner, role model, relevance, learning environment, communication, opportunity, networking, and modeling. The research revealed many elements in the inter-organizational IT community of practice contributed to knowledge retention and transfer, including the environment, differing perspectives of those involved, personal development of participants, the career boost perceived by participants, and the complexity of the IT industry. The findings include suggestions for expanding and strengthening the community of practice through partnerships with educational institutions, IT organizations, and alumni of the program, in addition to program enhancements and the replication of the program in other jurisdictions, which might lead to enhancing the value of participation in the IT interorganizational community of practice to the constituent groups involved.
Dedication: 
To my husband, Aidan, for supporting me in this endeavor every step of the way. Whenever life became a rollercoaster and I took my eyes off the goal, he would remind me of the goal that I had set for myself during my first year as an undergraduate 20 years ago. I would not have completed this work without his love, encouragement, and occasional prodding To my son, Liam, who was not even a thought when I started this journey, I was willing to end this journey to be able to welcome him into my life. Upon getting to know him, I wanted to set the best example for his future. He inspires me daily to make a difference in the world. To our newest addition whom we have not yet had the pleasure to meet, I am so grateful that I will have the pleasure to celebrate your arrival and the completion of this degree this year. To my parents, Carol and Cyril, who always made me feel like a genius and gave me my love of learning. They taught me that through collaboration great things can happen, no matter the obstacles. To Dr. Anthony Kortens, my mentor, who worked with me as I faced the trials of life and challenged me to do what I was capable of achieving. He was a true role model and encouraged me to question my assumptions while providing the encouragement to keep me going. To Drs. Whitfield and Justus, my committee members, who dared me to dig deeper. It was well worth it.
Acknowledgements: 
I wish to acknowledge the participants of this study. I appreciate their willingness to give of their time and experiences, which allowed me to complete this research study. Their passion for the program may ultimately benefit Bermuda’s IT community.