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52 Lehman 


Organizational Cultural Theory and Research Administration 
Knowledge Management 


Dwayne W. Lehman 

Carnegie Mellon University 

Abstract: The administration and management of sponsored projects spans many levels 
within an institution of higher education. Research administration professionals require an 
operational understanding of a complex and intertwined set of disciplines that include project 
management, finance, legal, ethics, communication, and business acumen. The explicit 
knowledge neededfor research administration is visible in work processes, policies, procedures 
and organized knowledge repositories. The implicit, or tacit knowledge required for the 
profession is much more difficult to externalize, codify, store and share. The management 
of this knowledge is greatly affected by the culture of the organization where the person 
works and the research administration community of practice. By applying organizational 
culture theory to the research administration profession and exploring shared artifacts, 
espoused beliefs and values, and basic underlying assumptions, barriers and opportunities 
for knowledge management initiatives are realized. Creating and sustaining a knowledge - 
sharing community involves establishing knowledge leaders in organizations that exhibit 
the ideals, beliefs and principles of the profession, allocating opportunities for research 
administration professionals to communicate and share, utilizing dynamic information 
systems, and establishing metrics for knowledge management initiatives. 

Keywords: research administration, knowledge management, organizational culture theory, higher 
education 

Background and Objectives 

Research conducted at colleges and universities is big business. It is an integral part of a 
institutions mission and represents a significant portion of the academic activity on campuses. 
The research endeavors can increase the prestige and competitive standing of the institution 
(Turk-Bicakci & Brint, 2005). In response to this climate, higher education institutional leaders 
are promoting and developing more complex research strategies that include interdisciplinary, 
intercollegiate, and international collaborations (Derrick & Nickson, 2014; Langley & Huff 
Ofosu, 2007; Rutherford & Langley, 2007; Turk-Bicakci & Brint, 2005). As the political and 
global environment of sponsored research at universities increase, so do the management, fiscal 
accountability, and reporting requirements of research projects (Lintz, 2008; Rutherford & 
Langley, 2007; Smith, Trapani, Decrappeo, & Kennedy, 2011). These factors have expanded the 
administrative requirements of research and increased the essential domain of knowledge that 
research administrators must possess to accomplish their responsibilities. 



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The administration and management of research at an institution of higher education is a 
multifaceted task that spans an institution. Collectively research administrators at institutions of 
higher education form a community of practice. A community of practice is defined as a group of 
people, who share a craft or profession (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Research administration across 
institutions of higher education also forms a type of organization. March and Simon (1993) 
define an organization as a “system of coordinated action among individuals or groups whose 
preferences, information, interests, or knowledge differ” (Organizations, p. 2). An organization 
survives through the control of information, formation of an identity, creation of shared stories 
and incentivizing acceptable behaviors (March & Simon, 1993). 

Research administration represents the business support necessary for the success of any 
exploratory initiative (Kulakowski & Chronister, 2006). The collection of knowledge that research 
administrators are required to grasp in order to accomplish their duties spans a diverse range of 
disciplines. These professionals require a working knowledge ofbusiness and project management, 
and the legal, ethical, scientific, and fiscal components of academic research (Kulakowski & 
Chronister, 2006; Shambrook & Roberts, 2011). In order for the profession to grow and evolve, 
this knowledge has to be collected, categorized, and shared among the research administration 
community of practice. The successful management of knowledge in any organization is highly 
influenced by culture. Applying organizational culture theory to the research administration 
profession and exploring the shared artifacts, espoused beliefs, values, and basic underlying 
assumptions of research administration, reveals common barriers to knowledge management and 
opportunities for creating a knowledge-sharing research administration community of practice. 

Knowledge and knowledge management 

Knowledge is the most valuable resource in any organization. It is the cornerstone of an institution’s 
competitive strategy and necessary for an organization’s survival (Davenport & Prusak, 1998; 
Naserieh, Pourkiani, Ziaadini, & Fahim, 2012; Serban & Luan, 2002; Schmitz, Rebelo, Gracia, 
& Tomas, 2014). Knowledge enables a person to interpret incoming information and data about 
a situation and identify the implications of that information to either take action or ignore it 
(Steyn, 2004). Davenport and Prusak (1998) provide a comprehensive definition of knowledge: 

Knowledge is a fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information, and expert 
insight that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and 
information. It originates and is applied in the minds of knowers. In organizations, it 
often becomes embedded not only in documents or repositories but also in organizational 
routines, processes, practices, and norms, (p. 3) 

Knowledge differs from data or information. Data is a collection of separate, objective facts about 
an event that can be measured qualitatively or quantitatively, but provides no interpretation, or 
basis for action (Davenport & Prusak, 1998; Serban & Luan, 2002). Information is data that 
has been given shape and organized in some manner by the members of an organization to be 
relevant and purposeful (Davenport & Prusak, 1998; Drucker, 1988, O’Dell & Grayson, 1998). 
Knowledge therefore, “is the application of experience and judgement to information by an 
individual, group or organziation” (Serban & Luan, 2002, p. 8). Knowledge results when people 



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personally transform information into their personal knowledge, store it, and use it to create new 
knowledge. 

Knowledge can be characterized as having two forms: explicit and tacit. Explicit and tacit 
knowledge are not mutually exclusive, but coexist within an institution at the individual, group, 
and organizational levels (O’Dell & Grayson, 1998; Sabherwal & Becerra-Fernandez, 2003; 
Serban & Luan, 2002). Explicit knowledge is found in an organization’s policies, procedure 
manuals, and institutional documents such as the mission, vision and value statements and is easily 
codified, stored and transferred (Gao, Meng, & Clarke, 2008; Kidwell, Vander-Linde, & Johnson, 
2000). Tacit knowledge is personal and individualized. It is created and validated by personal 
experience, contextualized in specific situations, influenced by personal values, and cannot be 
easily communicated or transferred (Cardoso, Meireles, & Ferreira Peralta, 2012; Kidwell et al., 
2000; Nonaka, 1994; Polanyi 1966). It is the management of this knowledge, specifically tacit 
knowledge, that promises to deliver huge returns for organizations and occupations that learn use 
it effectively (Kidwell et al., 2000). 

Management of this knowledge is critical to the success of the profession of research administration 
and the institutions in which research administrators work. Knowledge management in higher 
education can lead to better decision-making capabilities, reduce costs, and improve the efficiency 
and effectiveness of academic and administrative services by transforming tacit knowledge into 
explicit knowledge (Kidwell et al., 2000; Steyn, 2004). Knowledge management can be defined as 
the systematic process of identifying, capturing, and transferring the know-how, experience, and 
intellectual capital of people within organizations (Davenport & Prusak, 1998; Nonaka, 1994; 
Steyn, 2004). There are six phases in the knowledge management process according to Cardoso 
(as cited in Schmitz et al., 2014): creation and acquisition; attribution of meaning; sharing and 
diffusion; organization memory; measurement; and recovering. “The success of a knowledge 
management program is measured using the dimensions of the impact on business processes, 
strategy, leadership, organizational culture, and the efficiency and effectiveness of knowledge 
management processes” (Jennex, Smolnik, & Croasdell, 2009, p. 183). 

A key component of knowledge management is to create new knowledge within an organization, 
thus promoting its continued existence and value to stakeholders (Nonaka, 1994). The same 
is true for the profession of research administration. Knowledge management initiatives are 
accomplished by making intellectual capital available to others (Nonaka, 1994; Steyn, 2004). 
Knowledge creation is accomplished through four modes as described by Nonaka (1994): 
socialization, externalization, internalization, and combination. “New knowledge starts with 
individuals sharing their internal tacit knowledge through socializing with other people or by 
obtaining it in digital or analog form” (Steyn, 2004, p. 618). Culture plays a vital role in the 
accomplishment of knowledge management. 

Organizational culture 


Culture is an important aspect of any institution and yet, it is difficult to find a single, unified 
definition of culture. Shein (2010) defines organizational culture as “A pattern of shared basic 
assumptions learned by a group as it solved its problems through external adaption and internal 



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integration, which has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to 
new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems” (p. 18). 
An organizations culture can be divided into three levels: artifacts , espoused beliefs and values , 
and basic underlying assumptions (Schein, 2010). Artifacts are easily observed in the physical 
spaces of the institution, the apparent behaviors of employees, and how work is organized and 
processed (McDermott & O’Dell, 2001; Schein, 2010 ). Artifacts can be aligned with the explicit 
knowledge within an organization. Espoused beliefs and values can be seen in the organizations 
stated vision, mission and goals but also can be found in individual ideals, principles and personal 
aspirations (McDermott & O’Dell, 2001; Schein, 2010). This level of culture is expressed as 
explicit knowledge and also the more personal, unspoken tacit knowledge. The cultural level 
of basic underlying assumptions represents the unstated thoughts, feelings, and perceptions that 
influence decision-making actions and employee behavior (Schein, 2010). This deeper level of 
culture is the invisible dimension of an organization not easily or readily communicated and 
relates to tacit knowledge (McDermott & O’Dell, 2001). In addition to these levels of culture 
within an institution, there also exist a collection of subcultures and micro-cultures that are based 
on organizational hierarchy, geographic location, or are defined by a common set of functions 
or tasks performed by a group of individuals (Schein, 2010). Each of these subcultures and 
micro-cultures can have their own artifacts, espoused beliefs and underlying assumptions within 
the same institution. Issues within organizational culture present some of the most difficult 
barriers to knowledge management success (Conley & Zheng, 2009) because it determines what 
‘knowledge’ is, how it is stored and communicated, and what knowledge is important. 

Organizational culture and the impacts on knowledge management 

An institution’s culture significantly impacts knowledge and knowledge management (KM) 
tools, processes, and initiatives (McDermott & O’Dell, 2001). Leibowitz (1999) states that 
knowledge management is 90% dependent on building a supportive KM culture. Furthermore, 
Wong and Aspinwall (2004) indicate that culture is the second most critical success factor to KM 
behind leadership/management support. There are four primary ways in which the culture of an 
institution and knowledge management interact within an organization., Institutional culture: 1) 
shapes assumptions and determines what knowledge is useful and important to an organization; 
2) empowers those who owns a particular knowledge; 3) determines what is the knowledge; and 
how is it communicated; and 4) decides the acceptance or rejection of new knowledge through 
validation by the organization (DeLong, 1997). These intersections influence the success or 
failure of KM projects. 

Four barriers exist to the successful sharing and transferring of knowledge within an organization 
that are directly related to an institution’s culture. The first barrier is ignorance on both ends 
of the transfer of knowledge (Serban & Luan, 2002; Szulanski, 1993), i.e., individuals with 
knowledge do not realize its value to others, and others seeking knowledge do not know where 
to find it. The second barrier is the lack of resources to obtain the knowledge (O’Dell & Grayson, 
1998; Szulanski, 1993). This barrier reflects the lack of internal processes or technology to enable 
the collection, retrieval, and sharing of knowledge. The third barrier is the lack of relationship 
between a knowledge holder and the knowledge receiver (Serban & Luan, 2002; Szulanski, 1993); 



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opportunities for the social exchange of information through shared experiences and storytelling 
are hindered by the organization’s structure and the value of collaborative spirit. Lastly, the slow 
rate of adoption of new knowledge is caused by a lack of motivation within the organization 
which creates a barrier to KM and is impacted by the organization’s reward system (Davenport & 
Prusak, 1998; O’Dell & Grayson, 1998; Szulanski, 1993). 

Higher education institutions are often structured by function or discipline that operate 
independently of each other and with varying degrees of autonomy. Higher education institutions 
are also bureaucratic entities with complex political systems that serve different interests of 
stakeholders (Ramachandran, Chong, & Ismail, 2009). Inherently, “as in the business environment, 
functional areas within many higher education institutions often fail to share knowledge that 
can lead it to the establishment of a higher standard of education” (Ramachandran, et al., 2009, 
p. 204). Adding complexity to this environment is the dual challenge research administrators 
face: simultaneously serving the researcher, while promoting and protecting the best interest of 
the organization (Lankford, 1997). These barriers must be successfully addressed to promote a 
learning organization. 

Methods 

The supporting data presented in this paper are the results of the first round of a Delphi study, 
which was part of a larger exploratory sequential mixed-methods research project. 

Delphi technique 

The Delphi method leverages the knowledge and experiences of a select group of experts 
or qualified professionals to obtain a consensus on multidimensional issues or topics. This 
methodology is appropriate for researching complex issues such as those found in the profession 
of research administration “where large scale quantitative hard data fails to unearth the richness in 
tacit knowledge to help the research understand subtle expert opinion” (Grisham, 2009, p. 112). 
There are four goals associated with a Delphi study: 1) gather and summarize knowledge from an 
expert panel; 2) obtain an agreement or consensus concerning the topic or issue; 3) explore ideas 
with knowledgeable participants; and 4) provide information to aid in decision-making (Abu, 
Ritchie, & Jones, 2012). The Delphi technique was developed by the RAND Corporation in the 
late 1930’s as a method to aid in policy creation and decision-making (Dalkey, 1967). 

The Delphi research method has several additional advantages. The first is participant anonymity 
(Dalkey, 1967); participants individually provide their responses to prepared questions directly 
to the researcher thus reducing group pressure and the influence of dominant individuals (Dalkey 
& Helmer, 1963; Grisham, 2009). The second benefit is that through a repetitive, or iterative 
process it forms a consensus among the expert panel (Dalkey, 1967; Abu et al., 2012). Thirdly, 
the Delphi Method is systematic, flexible, and allows for the use of a variety of communication 
methods and tools (Dalkey, 1967; Abu et al., 2012). Lastly, it produces reliable and valid results 
(Abu et al., 2012; Dalkey, 1967; Grisham, 2009). Grisham (2009) states that, “The Delphi 
technique has been demonstrated in the literature as a reliable empirical method for consensus 



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reaching” (The Delphi technique: a method for testing complex and multifaceted topics, p. 116). 
Population and sample 

A purposive sampling technique was employed for this study. Bryman (2012) states, “The goal of 
purposive sampling is to sample participants in a strategic way so that those sampled are relevant 
to the research questions that are being posed” (p. 418). A study utilizing the Delphi technique 
can have any number of participants. The ideal sample size of experts is one that is large enough 
to represent the population, conduct the desired research, and yet is manageable by the researcher 
(O’Leary, 2014). 

The population for this study consists of self-identified research administrators from Very High 
and High Research Institutions according to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of 
Higher Education. The minimum requirements for the participants were at least eight years in 
the field of research administration, familiarity with both the pre-award and post-award research 
activities, and routine use of an institutional information system to manage sponsored research. 
The recruitment of participants was conducted through e-mail solicitations. Confidentiality 
of the participants was maintained through the study by having the participants provide their 
responses directly to the researcher. All data was stored in a locked cabinet and on secured storage 
devices. The Institutional Review Board (IRB) of Robert Morris University (RMU) approved the 
protocol for this research. 

Instrumentation 

The survey instrument was a modified survey questionnaire based on the critical success factor 
survey outlined in CMU/SEI-2004-9TR-010: The critical success factor method: a foundation 
for enterprise security management (Caralli, Stevens, Wilke, & Wilson, 2004). The survey asked 
participants to provide demographic information related to their gender, name of institution, 
business title and level, and number of years of experience in the field of research administration. 
Participants identified the information systems they currently used, key business functions, 
important goals and objectives within their area of responsibility, and problems or obstacles 
experienced while performing their duties as research administrators. 

Data analysis 

Data analysis began with the demographic nominal and ordinal information provided by the 
participants. Next, open-ended responses were categorized into major themes with repetitive 
answers consolidated. In vivo coding was utilized to create the categories. In vivo coding consists 
of using the words of the participant to create categories (Creswell, 2014; Bryman, 2012). The 
software application Nvivo® along with a spreadsheet application was used to code the open-ended 
participant responses. To ensure objectivity, an expert in the field of research administration that 
met the expert criteria and who did not participate in the survey reviewed the coded material to 
ensure consistency and validity (Creswell, 2014). 



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Results 

The Delphi study began by selecting 149 potential participants using a direct sampling technique. 
Individuals holding leadership positions from a research administration professional organization 
provided the potential participant list. E-mail invitations were sent on a weekly basis to potential 
participants. Twenty-two participants (14.8%) met the required criteria and completed the 
survey. The demographic information of the participants is illustrated in Table 1. The gender 
statistics of the Delphi participants are comparable to the 2010 Research Administrator profile 
conducted by Shambrook and Roberts (2011). 

Table 1: Delph i participant demographics 

Demographic data 


Gender 

Male 

Female 

Unidentified 



4 (1K.2%) 

17 (77.1%) 

1 (4.5%) 


Carnegie 

Classification 

Very High 

High 




15 (68.2%) 

7(3LS%) 



Academic 

Unit of 
employment 

Department or 
College level 

Central or 
University level 




5 (22.7%) 

17 (77.3%) 



Years nf RA 
Experience 

8 - 10 Years 

1113 Years 

J4- 16 Years 

17+ years 


2(9.1%) 

2 (9.1%) 

1 (11.6%) 

15 (6fl 2%) 


Artifacts 

Artifacts play a key part in the administration of research and the management and dissemination 
of knowledge. Schein (2010) defines artifacts as the physical products of a group such as: 

the architecture of the physical environment; its language; its technology and products; 
its artistic creation; its style, as embodied in clothing, manners of address, and emotional 
displays; its myths and stories told about the organization; its published list of values; and its 
observable rituals and ceremonies. (Organizational Culture and Leadership, p.23) 

Certainly, research administrators across institutions of higher education have an established 
professional language, or jargon, to communicate with internal and external stakeholders. The 
physical space of offices, buildings, and the layout of a campus or organization influences the 
sharing of existing knowledge and the creation of new knowledge. More importantly, the division 
of labor and the vertical and lateral coordination of command and control, or organizational chart, 
create avenues or blockades to KM. Technology plays a major role in research administration. 



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Lehman 59 


Institutions use information systems and applications to manage sponsored research. These tools 
range from basic spreadsheet applications to customized electronic research administration 
(eRA) systems and institutional web sites. All 22 participants in the study listed at least two 
information systems they used to manage sponsored projects in their area of responsibility. Six 
of the 22 indicated using spreadsheet applications to augment institutional systems. The effective 
management and sharing of knowledge requires the artifacts of an organization or community of 
practice to be aligned with the goals of any KM initiative. 

Espoused beliefs and values 

Espoused beliefs and values represent the ideals, goals, values and aspirations of a population 
that have been validated and rationalized (Schein, 2010). Within the profession of research 
administration there exists a core set of beliefs and values that guide decisions, behavior and 
actions. 

Table 2 illustrates the espoused values for research administrators participating in the study. 
The term accuracy’ or the phrase ‘to be accurate’ was mentioned, on average, 2.72 times per 
participant. The value of building and maintaining positive relationships with all customers for 
research administration professionals and communication is consistent with previous literature 
(Kulakowski & Chronister, 2006). The categories of‘timeliness’ and ‘importance of reporting’ 
allude to the research administrators’ belief in organization and structure. Previous literature also 
indicates research administrators have a preference for, and value rules, authority, institutional 
boundaries, processes and systems (Derrick & Nickson, 2014; Atkinson & Gilleland, 2007). 
Campo, 2014, adds that in addition to communication, team building, and interpersonal skills, 
research administrators value a positive, can-do attitude, which is reflected in the importance of 
the category ‘customer service’. Other values mentioned in previous literature but not included in 
the sample are the beliefs in strong character traits such as being ethical, principled, trustworthy, 
warm, supportive, and risk-averse. (Atkinson & Gilleland, 2007; Campbell, 2010; Campo, 2014; 
Derrick & Nickson, 2014; Lankford, 1997). The beliefs and values of the profession have a 
significant impact on what KM initiatives are pursued or terminated. 



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60 Lehman 


Table 2: Espoused beliefs mud values of participants 

N ism her of litin cs Percentage of 13 clp hi 


phrase was used 


participants using term 

Accuracy 

60 

95 . 5 % 

Timeliness 

46 

Ml _K% 

Co nuDuniqatlon 

46 

40.9% 

Reporting [importance of) 

37 

77.3% 

Customer Service 

36 

59.1% 

Training 

2K 

45.5% 

E.use of access Lo informality] 

13 

59.1% 

Relationships 

11 

50.0% 

Tnlemncc (patien.ee/f1ex Lhilily) 

5 

22.7% 

Humor 

3 

13.6% 


Basic underlying assumptions 

Basic underlying assumptions are different from prevailing, or strongly held values. Underlying 
assumptions represent the underlying patterns of behavior that have become so engrained in 
the actions, attributes, and mental models of the population that they are taken for granted 
and there is little variation within a social unit (Schein, 2010). Primary to the basic underlying 
assumptions concerning research administration is the ideal of service and servant leadership 
(Derrick & Nickson, 2014; Waite, 2001). This is collectively reflected in the statements of the 
sample population. Atkinson, Gilleland and Barrett (2007) support this position by stating that 
research administration is a profession because of the “ideal of service to clients and stakeholders, 
in addition to possessing specialized knowledge, and observing a code of ethics and principles” 
(The dimentions of influence on research administrator behavior: toward a theoretical model of 
research administration as a public service profession, p. 63). Gabriele & Caines, (2014) argue 
for the critical role research administrators play as servant leaders in the world of research itself. 
These basic underlying assumptions are critical and are at the center of knowledge management 
for organizations and professions. A commitment to the ideal of learning through sharing 
information must be an underlying basic assumption of the profession and organization for any 
KM activity. Lacking this quality requires a paradigm shift in the mindset of the population and 
sweeping cultural change. 

Discussion 

The cultural factors of artifacts, espoused beliefs and values, and basic underlying assumptions 
identify the elements of research administration that are crucial when initiating or evaluating 
knowledge management programs for the profession and the community of practice. Higher 
education institutions need to focus on mutual relationship and doing things together in order 
to have organizational knowledge management success (Nurluoz & Bird, 2011). “In higher 
education, knowledge management becomes a significant part of the quality improvement that 



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Lehman 61 


leads collaborative efforts of the professionals to share knowledge, construct knowledge in order 
to improve the efficiency for better work practices” (Nurluoz & Bird, 2011, p. 207). There is 
a significant amount of literature addressing knowledge management success in organizations 
to include the identification of critical success factors, best practices, principles, rules and 
applications. For the research administration community the practice four factors are essential to 
promote a learning culture. 

First, organizational champions have to be identified and given the resources to lead KM 
initiatives (Davenport & Prusak, 1998; Kidwell et al., 2000). These advocates must be respected 
and outwardly represent the values and beliefs of the practice and symbolize the basic underlying 
assumptions of the profession through word and deed. Mas-Machuca examined the critical 
success factors of KM and found that trust, transparency, honesty, collaboration, professionalism, 
flexibility, and commitment were related to culture (p. 1308). These same qualities are essential 
for the knowledge champions of the organization. In addition, these stalwarts are simultaneously 
mentors, cheerleaders, defenders, marketers, and branding professionals who encourage the 
stimulation of knowledge collection and sharing. In essence, they are knowledge leaders. 

Second, Davenport and Prusak (1998) state that in order to simply have knowledge shared and 
created, one needs to “put smart people in a room and let them talk.” (p.16). Organizational 
structures need to facilitate the exchange of information through socialization to codify and 
transfer tacit knowledge (Nonaka, 1994). This is true for both institutions of higher education 
and the community of practice as a whole. This is accomplished by providing space for the 
assembly of research administrators at all levels within the institution and allocating sufficient 
time to present and share information. One manner to accomplish this task is to encourage 
research administrators to attend professional meetings. There are several United States-based 
professional organizations that hold meetings locally and regionally for research administrators 
at all levels. These organizations also hold an annual membership meeting. Meetings provide the 
opportunity to network with other professionals, enabling attendees to discover who possesses 
knowledge, to identify individuals seeking knowledge, and to engage in all four modes of 
knowledge transfer as indicated by Nonaka (1994). 

Third, the use of technology enables the transfer of explicit knowledge. Along with individual 
institutions using technology to establish knowledge repositories, there are knowledge “banks” 
available within the profession. These systems allow the transfer information and explicit 
knowledge; however, they are considered “passive disseminators” with users only accessing them 
for specific information when needed (O’Dell & Grayson, 1998). Regardless of the database or 
knowledge repository utilized, users have to find value in the information. Users create knowledge 
by interpreting and giving meaning to the information stored on these systems (Steyn, 2004). 
The information system needs to be easy to navigate, robust, continually updated, and linked to 
existing work processes. 

Lastly, as with any project or program, knowledge management initiatives have to be measured 
and assessed on a regular basis (Davenport & Prusak, 1998; Kidwell et al., 2000). This includes 
incentivizing and establishing a reward structure for seeking and creating knowledge to further 
the administration and management of research. The metrics or the evaluation of KM initiatives 



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should include both qualitative and quantitative measures for success (Davenport & Prusak, 
1998). Additionally, the metrics should be tied to work processes, functionality, usability, and the 
strategic goals of the organization (Jennex, Smolnik, & Croasdell, 2009). 

Further Research 

The first round of results of the Delphi study identified information technology artifacts and 
espoused values of research administrators even though a direct line of questioning for these 
cultural elements was not the primary focus of the research project. Further research specific to 
these cultural elements should be investigated. Other cultural elements and the subculture and 
micro-culture levels of research administration should continue to be explored. The application 
of institutional, administrative behavior, and organizational theories related to the research 
administration community of practice could add depth of understanding to the profession. 

Conclusion 

The profession of research administration has developed in unprecedented ways since the end of 
the last world war. The knowledge required to successfully administrate research in institutions 
of higher education crosses multiple disciplines. The management of explicit and tacit knowledge 
is essential for the continued growth and development for the profession. Organizational culture 
plays a significant role in the success or failure of these projects. By applying organizational 
cultural theory and gaining an understanding of the artifacts, espoused values and beliefs, and 
basic underlying assumptions, research administrator knowledge leaders can identify and address 
potential obstacles to the successful transfer and creation of knowledge for their organization, the 
community of practice and the profession of research administration. 

Authors’ Note 

The data and findings presented in this paper are the results from the first phase of a Delphi study, 
which was part of a larger exploratory sequential mixed-methods study for the author’s doctoral 
dissertation. 

Dwayne W. Lehman, D.Sc. 

Business Manager, Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) 

Carnegie Mellon University 
5000 Forbes Ave. 

Pittsburgh, PA 15213 
(412) 736-8485 

Email: dwlehman@mac.com 



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