This article proposes a Knowledge Networking approach to the development of Workplace Health & Safety Knowledge in order to overcome the limits and obstacles associated with the more traditional linear model of Knowledge Transfer in organisations. The province of Québec has developed a Network approach to managing workplace health and safety that is highly regarded by health & safety practitioners and researchers throughout Canada. Its research arm, the Robert Sauvé Research Institute on Workplace Health & Safety (IRSST) also uses a Knowledge Network approach to guide its research agenda. The success of those network initiatives has led the Eastern Canada Research Consortium on Workplace Health & Safety to create a Knowledge Transfer Research Laboratory (KTLab) to support research on the transfer of WHS best practices develop in Québec and elsewhere to Atlantic Canada using a networking approach.
Keywords: Knowledge Transfer, Knowledge Networks, Virtual Team, Workplace Health and Safety, Information Technology
Organisational learning and knowledge management experts are searching for more appropriate research tools to tackle the difficult concepts of organisational learning and knowledge. This paper provides an overview of the learning history methodology, first proposed by Kleiner and Roth, in studying knowledge transfer activities. The learning history methodology, typically used within an action research environment, is designed to allow recognition of what has been learned in the past to guide stakeholders in the dialogical generation of a new future. It is a qualitative measurement tool of what has been learned, and remains sensitive to contextual factors, since it is based on the perceptions of the organisation's actors and the theoretical sensitivity of the researcher. This paper surveys the learning history literature to determine the roots, benefits and challenges of this research method. We will then demonstrate the advantages of using this approach to studying organisational knowledge transfer by presenting a case study where it is being used within participatory action research logic. Finally, we will provide lessons learned from our ongoing research and draw on implications for practice and future theorising.