Why don't best practices spread within firms? What exactly is sticky knowledge? Having recognized that knowledge assets are rapidly becoming their most precious source of competitive advantage, a large number of organizations are now attempting to transfer best practices. Yet best practices still remain stubbornly immobile. Sticky Knowledge reveals that the transfer of practices is a complex phenomenon, and demonstrates the range of barriers to transferring best practices within the firm. Written in a brief and accessible format, Gabriel Szulanski defines the popular concept of stickiness and its operationalization, providing a roadmap for understanding and further researching this topical issue. Taking a fresh look at accepted wisdom, and presenting research findings that conflict with some established views, the book will be essential reading for academics and students addressing issues related to knowledge and the firm. Practising managers and MBA students will also find it of immense value.

Statistical Findings
Statistical findings

This chapter presents the results of statistical analysis aimed at identifying which were the best predictors of difficulty for each stage of the transfer and, overall, for the transfers of this study. The findings stem from the analysis of data collected through a two-step questionnaire survey.

Data and Analysis

The findings stem from a statistical analysis of data collected from 122 transfers of 38 practices in 8 companies: AMP, AT&T Paradyne, British Petroleum, Burmah Castrol, Chevron Corporation, EDS, Kaiser Permanente and Rank Xerox. The sample contains both technical practices – e.g. software development procedures and drawing standards – and administrative practices – e.g. upward appraisal and activity-based costing (ABC). See Appendix 3 for a fuller list of the practices studied.

These data were gathered in ...

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