ABCs of KMKM in project-based & temporary organisations

KM in project-based & temporary organisations: Part 1 – Barriers to knowledge sharing and transfer

This article is part 1 in a series of articles on knowledge management (KM) in project-based and temporary organisations.

Effective knowledge management (KM) can be challenging in any organisation, but especially so in project-based and temporary organisations. Teams for a specific project or purpose will often be established with staff from different parts of an organisation or from outside the organisation, so these project teams may not have existing knowledge sharing relationships. On top of this, once the project has been completed or a temporary organisation’s purpose fulfilled, the staff will often move on to other projects or organisations, potentially taking their knowledge with them.

This series of articles draws on a range of research to provide knowledge managers, project managers, and their organisations with guidance in how to meet the challenges of KM in project-based and temporary organisations. This first part (part 1) looks at the barriers to knowledge sharing and transfer in project-based and temporary organisations, and then subsequent parts (part 2 onwards) provide advice on how to overcome these barriers.

The identified barriers directly relate to the challenges identified above: knowledge sharing within projects, and inter-project knowledge transfer.

Barriers to knowledge sharing within projects

In a Victoria University doctoral dissertation1, Karagoz identifies the following barriers to knowledge sharing within projects:

Summary of knowledge sharing barriers within projects
Figure 1. Summary of knowledge sharing barriers within projects (source: Karagoz 2017).

Barriers to inter-project knowledge transfer

In a paper2 presented at the International Conference on Global Innovation in Construction, Wiewiora and colleagues identify the following barriers that hinder inter-project knowledge transfer:

Barriers that hinder inter-project knowledge transfer
Figure 2. Barriers that hinder inter-project knowledge transfer (source: Wiewiora et al. 2009).

Next part (part 2): The role of the Project Management Office (PMO).

Header image source: Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash.


  1. Karagoz, Y. (2017). Exploring barriers to knowledge sharing in temporary organisations and their implications on project success: the case from the Victorian Public Service (Doctoral dissertation, Victoria University).
  2. Wiewiora, A., Trigunarsyah, B., Murphy, G., & Liang, C. (2009). Barriers to effective knowledge transfer in project-based organisations. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Global Innovation in Construction (pp. 220-230). Loughborough University.
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Bruce Boyes

Bruce Boyes ( is editor, lead writer, and a director of the award-winning RealKM Magazine (, and a knowledge management (KM), environmental management, and project management professional. He is a PhD candidate in the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Group at Wageningen University and Research, and holds a Master of Environmental Management with Distinction. His expertise and experience includes knowledge management (KM), environmental management, project management, stakeholder engagement, teaching and training, communications, research, and writing and editing. With a demonstrated ability to identify and implement innovative solutions to social and ecological complexity, Bruce's many career highlights include establishing RealKM Magazine as an award-winning resource, using agile and knowledge management approaches to oversee an award-winning $77.4 million western Sydney river recovery program, leading a knowledge strategy process for Australia's 56 natural resource management (NRM) regional organisations, pioneering collaborative learning and governance approaches to support the sustainable management of landscapes and catchments, and initiating and teaching two new knowledge management subjects at Shanxi University in China.

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