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Knowledge management – what do uncertainty management and the project owner perspective have to do with it?

Knowledge management – what do uncertainty management and the project owner perspective have to do with it?

Authors: Agnar Johansen, Trygve Steiro, Siva Ekambaram,

Presented at the 13th European Conference on Knowledge Management (ECKM) 2012, Cartagena, Spain.

Abstract:

Managing uncertainty is an important issue in projects. Uncertainty in a project can be viewed in different ways by different key individuals who are associated with the project. This paper considers managing / dealing with uncertainty in projects as its point of departure, and looks at learning and knowledge transfer in this project context.

This paper is based on the studies that have been carried out in connection with a research project in called “Practical management of uncertainty viewed from the perspective of the project owner” – in short, the PUS-project. Six Organisations form public and private sectors were involved in the project.

Projects are considered as vehicle for learning. But, the learning and knowledge management in project organizations are not free of challenges. We believe that there has been inadequate focus on (and lack of conscious efforts to) promoting learning and knowledge sharing in project organizations, even though organizations widely recognize that projects are learning arenas. We present some of the important dilemmas related to learning and knowledge transfer in projects. The identification of the dilemmas is a part of the results of the PUS-project.

The paper presents a description of project owner perspective and a wider view on the consequences of projects. Then, it looks at the project owner perspective in connection with the project consequences in order to discuss the dilemmas related to learning in project organizations.

A model that is being developed in order to illustrate learning at individual, project team and organizational levels is also presented. Another model is also described as a supplement in this paper. The two models that are presented show key aspects (levels, processes, elements, etc.) of learning in project organizations. These key aspects can be considered, when the project owner perspective is applied to look at learning and knowledge management in project organizations. This paper is based on the results obtained by various research methods that were applied in the PUS-project. These methods were of both qualitative and quantitative nature.