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An investigation of knowledge transfer practices within the Muslim business community in Edinburgh

Fascia, Michael



This study seeks to understand knowledge transfer practices within the Muslim business community in Edinburgh. It investigates how knowledge transfer practices are managed on a day to day basis, examines the route of development and justification for these practices into meaningful knowledge transfer processes, and explores the underlying perspective of knowledge from the knowledge transfer practitioners view of knowledge transfer practices in a business context. In particular, the study seeks explanations for such practices with reference to both a knowledge-based and a resource-based view of the firm.

Due to the multifarious phenomena of knowledge transfer, and to allow a scope necessary to establish epistemological and empirical evidence from literature, a two stage literature review process was adopted. The majority of literature expounds an argument in which knowledge and knowledge transfer processes in a business context are embedded within a set of real world dimensions, based on causal relationships. Literature determines that it is overcoming difficulties with this framework which is critical for a businesses ability to manage, utilise and extract value from multiple internal and external sources of knowledge. Four broad themes were identified, from which most literature supported this argument: Psychological, Organisational, Philosophical and Cultural.

The ontology of the study is based on a constructivist paradigm with an interpretivist method of qualitative data analysis. The investigation involved 20 participants and employed in-depth semi-structured interviews. These were carried out across different locations and different hierarchal levels of four businesses and organisations involved in the study. Data collection and analysis were carried out in two phases. Phase one was based on ethnographic participant observation which proved unsuccessful due to an underestimation of the complexity of the participants personal perspective and researcher bias. Phase two was informed by the difficulties encountered in phase one and proved successful in capturing meaningful data. Following a thematic logic, themes were carefully unpacked in an iterative process, so that an understanding of knowledge transfer experiences within the Muslim business community in Edinburgh became clear.

According to the findings in this study, knowledge transfer practices are derived by continuous identification and filling of knowledge gaps from the participants’ real world view. In contrast to current literature, participants real world views are governed by an ideological perspective supported by a single knowledge source, the Quran. Knowledge transfer advocacies use this single source of knowledge to fill collective knowledge gaps in relation to knowledge transfer in a business context. In this respect, findings reveal that definitions of knowledge and barriers to transfer have no justification for existence within this sphere of perspective. An overarching theme of religion encompasses the rhetoric of the findings.

In summary, the study provides a deep understanding of the knowledge transfer practices in the Muslim business community in Edinburgh. Through the systematic and dialectic analysis of knowledge transfer participants daily practices, the details and dynamisms underpinning knowledge transfer processes are revealed.

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date May 9, 2013
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords Knowledge transfer; Muslim community; ideology; religion;
Public URL
Award Date 2012-11


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