Employee turnover is prevalent in the software engineering industry. When new employees enter into an organization, it is necessary for them to acquire new organizational knowledge so that they can work more effectively. In this paper, we explore how various knowledge acquisition channels can be used to acquire different types of knowledge. Using organizational communication theory and social presence theory, we propose a theoretical framework that maps different types of knowledge to different acquisition channels. Then we empirically test the model with a field experiment conducted with 112 software engineers in a large software engineering company. Our results reveal that formal channels are more effective for acquiring objectified and automatic knowledge than informal channels. Additionally, mediated channels are more effective for acquiring conscious knowledge, while non-mediated channels are effective for acquiring collective knowledge. These results have important implications for the practice of knowledge management, and advance the theory of knowledge transfer.
Zhang, Wei; Tan, Sharon; and Tan, Bernard, "Effectiveness of Knowledge Acquisition for Newcomers: The Relationship Between Acquistion Channels and Knowledge Types" (2006). ICIS 2006 Proceedings. 64.