How does the employee cross-training lean tool affect the knowledge transfer in product development processes?

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/VJIKMS-11-2015-0061
Publication Date08 August 2016
Pages371-385
AuthorStefan Stanica,Jorge Peydro
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Knowledge management,Knowledge management systems
How does the employee
cross-training lean tool affect the
knowledge transfer in product
development processes?
Stefan Stanica and Jorge Peydro
KTH, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Abstract
Purpose This paper aims to study the challenge of transferring knowledge among product
development processes of an research and development department and other departments of the
organization. To have a more concise focus on this broad eld and having a lean perspective, this paper
aims to analyse and identify how the cross-training employee lean tool affects the knowledge transfer
processes in the previously mentioned departments.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper bases its research on a valid theoretical framework
which is built to develop an explorative perspective that allows the authors to create and interpret the
data collected from the companies through interviews. The paper uses a qualitative perspective by
using the expertise of the companies not only to validate and draw conclusions from the studied
theoretical framework but also to look beyond it.
Findings – The companies agree that the implementation of the cross-training employee lean tool will
have a positive effect on the knowledge transfer processes in the organizations. Other important
advantages that are detected are that this lean tool broadens the knowledge and the competences of
employees, and that it helps the company to manage the tacit knowledge. However, some unexpected
drawbacks such as the lack of metrics for measuring the knowledge transfer and the strictness of this
lean tool were also found.
Originality/value – No previous research exists that analyses the effect of cross-training lean tool in
knowledge transfer processes. This paper identies such a gap in the literature and is used as the
starting point to motivate the use of this tool to improve knowledge transfer processes due to the
positive effects of it.
Keywords Knowledge transfer, Cross-training, Knowledge management, Knowledge creation,
Lean, Knowledge measurement
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
This article studies the challenge of transferring knowledge among product
development processes of an research and development (R&D) department and other
departments of the organization. This is carried out through an analysis of a part of lean
theory, using a knowledge management framework. The research conducted by Tyagi
et al. (2015) shows how the lean thinking theory affects knowledge creation in product
development processes. This research shows how the knowledge creation is supported
by ten specic lean tools. However, as rms are increasing their complexity, the
collaboration among different departments and units of an organization is becoming
more and more important. Nowadays, to be competitive in their respective markets,
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/2059-5891.htm
Cross-training
lean tool
371
Received 4 December 2015
Revised 30 January 2016
Accepted 8 March 2016
VINEJournal of Information and
KnowledgeManagement Systems
Vol.46 No. 3, 2016
pp.371-385
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
2059-5891
DOI 10.1108/VJIKMS-11-2015-0061

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