Collaborative Project: Knowledge Transfer at Heidelberg University
To generate and promote knowledge and make it available to society: these are central tasks of the University. Beyond the academic knowledge apparatus the University as an institution also works because of the formal and informal knowledge and competencies of its staff.
Knowledge management in periods of transition is a topic that pertains to all areas of the University – to research, teaching and administration. What, from the University’s perspective, happens to the store of knowledge of university members who retire or change jobs? How can staff members’ professional knowledge that is central to operations at the institution – in work groups, at the institute, the faculty or the university at large – still be accessed in periods of individual mobility? How can we manage periods of transition in a considerate manner? And how does an “open” university manage access to knowledge as a resource?
These are the central concerns of the collaborative project “Wissensraum UHD” (Heidelberg University as a Space of Knowledge).
Practice Project "Preserving Knowledge - Managing Transitions"
In the practice project “Wissen bewahren – Übergänge gestalten,” the Equal Opportunities Office in dialogue with the “Age and Knowledge Management” focus group devises instruments with which to institutionalise the individual exchange between staff members in transitional periods and their potential successors Both on an individual and structural level, all members of the University as well as the University’s work and organisational infrastructure are to benefit from this project: newly hired members of staff as well as staff members about to leave the University will profit from a more circumspect, ordered transition at the workplace. The institution, on its part, documents and organises formal and informal knowledge at the workplace in consultation with its staff members and with regard to relevant categories of difference.
Knowledge Management and Intergenerational Transfer of Knowledge in Transitional Periods. Individual and Institutional Aspects Related to Job Changes or the Conferring of Emeritus Status
The practice project “Wissensmanagement und transgenerationale Weitergabe von Wissen in Übergangssituationen: Individuelle und institutionelle Aspekte beim Stellenwechsel und der Emeritierung” is accompanied by a cooperative research project from Fields of Focus 3 and 4. For this purpose, project funding has been obtained at the beginning of the year. Field of Focus 3 deals with questions of cultural heritage seen from the perspectives of the individual and society, but also understood in terms of material artefacts of knowledge storage and transfer. Field of Focus 4 takes up research questions concerning intergenerational knowledge transfer, the mechanisms of learning and knowledge acquisition as well as the processes of change and regulation in organisations.
First Meeting of Focus Group “Age and Knowledge Management” on 13 March 2019
In mid-March members of the “Alter und Wissensmanagement” focus group met for the first time to talk about their experience with knowledge preservation and transfer. Comprised of university members from a range of areas, the focus group works alongside the practice project and meets twice a year.
After exchanging experiences internally, the focus group gathered input from research and the economic sector. Alfredo Virgillito, social scientist at the TU Dortmund, introduced the topic of knowledge and knowledge management and talked about essential requirements for the successful transfer of knowledge.
Dr Martin Kühn, having been a manager for many years and currently acting as Senior Expert at SAP, provided insight into knowledge management at the company. In personnel development, he has been particularly involved in knowledge preservation and transfer projects. He was thus able to share first-hand experiences and point out factors of success as well as obstacles.
We thank our external experts for their interesting and helpful input!