Successful knowledge-based organizations have been portrayed as balancing on the edge of time: they are able to connect experience and lessons learned in the past with current activities and with a view to the future. Succession presents many challenges to this continuity of organizational knowledge. Traditionally, succession has been associated with transferring the existing knowledge from senior workers to newcomers. The paper examines succession as a knowledge-based process consisting both of transferring seniors’ expertise to juniors, as well as using juniors’ competencies for building knowledge that is new for a firm, i.e. succession is seen as a context where both continuity and renewal are produced. To examine succession from a knowledge-based view, we have implemented an empirical study on succession of a Finnish expert company. The objective of the research is to describe and understand how knowledge is used and modified in the context of succession. The theoretical and methodological basis of the study lies on sense-making. The preliminary results prove that in the studied firm, social interaction related with the succession leads not only to transferring the existing knowledge of the senior workers to the newcomers. In addition, new knowledge can be applied and created in the context of master-novice interaction The newcomers bring in new ideas, standpoints and knowledge that are valuable to the firm, as well as apply and change the existing organizational knowledge. Thereby succession is not only a process of producing continuity of organizational knowledge, but also of renewing it.
Virta, Maarit and Pöyhönen, Aino, "Knowledge Sharing and Building in Succession of a Firm" (2006). ICEB 2006 Proceedings. 44.