Purpose – In elite sport competitions there are small margins, and small advantages may be the key to big success. Details that in many other setting would be considered insignificant can have a major impact on results. Awareness about risks therefore becomes a key concern in such projects, and this is often viewed as the essence of project management. Compensations for negative outcomes do not make sense. Delays, cost‐overruns or compensations are not viable options. In such situations, success depends on the ability to manage risks with a high degree of reliability, reflects the ability to mobilize, use and develop new knowledge. This paper aims to offer an opportunity to investigate mechanisms for knowledge development and transfer in relation to risk management in a mindful organization. Design/methodology/approach – The starting point was formal documents and plans, but the main data source is semi‐structured in‐depth interviews with all major actors involved. The data are representative in the sense that they provide a comprehensive mapping of critical elements in Olympic projects, strategies for dealing with them and how knowledge from earlier projects were exploited. As data were collected they were systematized through open coding, identifying recurrent themes relating to major concerns, influence of earlier experience, knowledge sharing, relationships between experiences and new project team members, etc. The next step was to recode descriptive categories in ways that captured underlying analytical or theoretical dimensions relating to different types of risk, knowledge and knowledge carriers. Findings – The article links risk management to knowledge development and transfer in a mindful organization. Three mechanisms are crucial for successful project‐based learning: relating different competences; reflecting on experiences; and routinizing lessons learned. Such processes are at the core of a mindful organization. Knowledge transfer and risk management are an integrated part of best practice. In Olympiatoppen there is little codification of knowledge in formal systems and detailed operating procedures. Knowledge is mainly carried by individuals – and activated, evaluated and used in a setting where relationships play a key role. The ability to exploit such mechanisms for knowledge transfer is generally attracting attention as an essential success factor in project‐based learning. Originality/value – The paper contributes to the literature on knowledge development in projects in the following ways: first, knowledge development and transfer is linked to risk management and the concept of mindful organization. In a mindful organization knowledge transfer and risk management are an integrated part of best practice. Second, it pays special attention to the social aspects of knowledge transfer; particularly the role of personal knowledge and problem solving capacities and the importance of social relationships.
International Journal of Managing Projects in Business – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 29, 2013
Keywords: Project‐based learning; Knowledge development; Knowledge transfer; Knowledge management; Mindful organization; Risk management; Learning methods