The Use of ICT Platforms to Promote Knowledge Exchange in Project-Based Organisations

Open access


This study aims to investigate the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to support knowledge exchange in project-based organisations. The primary ICT tool investigated in this research is WhatsApp, a messaging application that has been widely used since its introduction. An ethnographic case study method was utilised to analyse qualitative data collected from interviews and focus group discussions. Three projects in an Indonesian university with a duration ranging from 8 months to 2 years were examined as object of investigations. Broadly, the findings show that ICT tools are generally useful in supporting knowledge exchange, which ultimately positively affects project performance. The project teams relied on WhatsApp for the success of the projects. Although face-to-face meetings were rare, team communication was highly intensive, supported by WhatsApp. In addition, managers are encouraged to promote knowledge exchange between team members. Through knowledge exchange, there will be knowledge development, which facilitates the invention of new techniques and methods for promoting project success. The most prominent findings are presented using direct quotations to provide first hand insight from the field. At the end of the paper, recommendations regarding what project managers should do during and after the project has been completed are presented. The recommendations are classified based on the knowledge management life cycle, representing a structured method to manage knowledge in project-based organisations.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Acton B. & Koum J. 2014. WhatsApp blog. Available at: [Accessed February 4 2016].

  • Adenfelt M. 2010. Exploring the performance of transnational projects: shared knowledge coordination and communication. International Journal of Project Management 28(6) pp.529–538.

  • Aggarwal P. & O’Brien C.L. 2008. Social loafing on group projects: structural antecedents and effect on student satisfaction. Journal of Marketing Education.

  • Ahad A.D. & Lim S.M.A. 2014. Convenience or Nuisance?: The “WhatsApp” Dilemma. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 155(October) pp.189–196.

  • Alabdulkareem S.A. 2015. Exploring the use and the impacts of social media on teaching and learning science in Saudi. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 182 pp.213–224.

  • Almeida M.V. & Soares A.L. 2014. Knowledge sharing in project-based organizations : Overcoming the informational limbo. International Journal of Information Management 34 pp.770–779.

  • Barreau D. 2008. The persistence of behavior and form in the organization of personal information. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 59(2) pp.307–317.

  • Bartsch V. Ebers M. & Maurer I. 2013. Learning in project-based organisations: The role of project teams’ social capital for overcoming barriers to learning. International Journal of Project Management 31(2) pp.239–251.

  • Begel A. DeLine R. & Zimmermann T. 2010. Social media for software engineering2. In Proc. FSE/SDP workshop on Future of software engineering research FoSER ’10. Santa Fe New Mexico USA: ACM New York pp. 33–37.

  • Boh W.F. 2007. Mechanism for sharing knowledge in project-based organisations. Information and Organisation 17(1) pp.27–58.

  • Budden C.B. et al. 2011. Managing the evolution of a revolution: Marketing implications of Internet media usage among college students. College Teaching Methods and Styles Journal 3(3) p.5—10.

  • Caniëls M.C.J. & Bakens R.J.J.M. 2012. The effects of Project Management Information Systems on decision making in a multi project environment. International Journal of Project Management 30(2) pp.162–175.

  • Carrillo P. et al. 2004. Knowledge management in UK construction: Strategies resources and barriers. Project Management Journal 35(1) pp.46–56.

  • Carrillo P.M. et al. 2006. A knowledge transfer framework: the PFI context. Construction Management and Economics 24(10) pp.1045–1056.

  • Chang H.H. & Chuang S. 2011. Social capital and individual motivations on knowledge sharing: participant involvement as a moderator. Information & Management 48(1) p.9.

  • Chiocchio F. 2007. Project team performance: A study of electronic task and coordination communication. Project Management Journal 38(1) pp.97–109.

  • Choo C.W. 1991. Towards an informational model of organizations. The Canadian Journal of Information Science 16(3) pp.32–62.

  • Crawford L. 2002. Profiling the competent project manager. In In D. P. Slevine D. I. Cleland & J. K. Pinto (Eds.) The frontiers of project management research. Newtown Square PA.: Project Management Institute. pp. 151–176.

  • Detlor B. 2010. Information management. International Journal of Information Management 30(2) pp.103–108.

  • Drake T.M. et al. 2015. WhatsApp with patient data transmitted via instant messaging? The American Journal of Surgery 211(1) pp.300–301.

  • Easterby-Smith M. Thorpe R. & Jackson P. 2012. Management research 4th Edition Sage Publications Inc. London United Kingdom.

  • Eisenhardt K.M. 1989. Building theories from case study research. The Academy of Management Review 14(4) pp.532–550.

  • Fong P. 2003. Knowledge creation in multidisciplinary project teams: An empirical study of the processes and their dynamic interrelationships. International Journal of Project Management 21(7) pp.479–486.

  • Giardano V. et al. 2015. WhatsApp messenger is useful and reproducible in the assessment of tibial fractures: Inter- and intra-observer agreement study. International Journal of Medical Informatics 54 pp.141–148.

  • Gunnlaugsdottir J. 2003. Seek and you will find share and you will benefit: Organising knowledge using groupware systems. International Journal of Information Management 23(5) pp.363–380.

  • Hoegl M. Weinkauf K. & Gemuenden H.G. 2004. Interteam coordination project commitment and teamwork in multiteam R&D projects: a longitudinal study. Organisational Science 15(1) pp.38–55.

  • Hofstede G. et al. 1990. Measuring organisational cultures: A qualitative and quantitative study across twenty cases. Administrative Science Quarterly 35 pp.286–316.

  • Jackson P. & Klobas J. 2008. Building knowledge in projects: A practical application of social constructivism to information systems development. International Journal of Project Management 26(4) pp.329–337.

  • Johannessen J.A. & Olsen B. 2011. Projects as communicating systems: Creating a culture of innovation and performance. International Journal of Information Management 31(1) pp.30–37.

  • Jonhston M.. et al. 2015. Smartphones let surgeons know WhatsApp: an analysis of communication in emergency surgical teams. The American Journal of Surgery 209(1) pp.45–51.

  • Juarez-Ramirez R. Pimienta-Romo R. & Ocegueda-Miramontes V. 2013. Supporting the software development process using social media: Experiences with student projects. 2013 IEEE 37th Annual Computer Software and Applications Conference Workshops pp.656–661.

  • Karim N. & Hussein R. 2008. Managers’ perception of information management and the role of information and knowledge managers: The Malaysian perspectives. International Journal of Information Management 28(2) pp.114–127.

  • Koskinen K.U. Pihlanto P. & Vanaranta H. 2003. Tacit knowledge acquisition and sharing in a project work context. International Journal of Project Management 21(4) pp.281–290.

  • Kotlarsky J. & Oshri I. 2005. Social ties knowledge sharing and successful collaboration in globally distributed system development projects. European Journal of Informational Systems 14(1) pp.37–48.

  • Kruger C. & Johnson R.D. 2010. Information management as an enabler of knowledge management maturity: A South African perspective. International Journal of Information Management 30(1) pp.57–67.

  • Liu J. Meng F. & Fellows R. 2015. An exploratory study of understanding project risk management from the perspective of national culture. International Journal of Project Management 33(3) pp.564–575.

  • Liu P.L. Chen W.C. & Tsai C.H. 2004. An empirical study on the correlation between knowledge management capability and competitiveness in Taiwan’s industries. Technovation 24(12) pp.971–977.

  • Lynn G.S. & Reilly R.R. 2000. Measuring team performance. Research Technology Management 43(2) pp.48–56.

  • Mehta N. Hall D. & Byrd T. 2014. Information technology and knowledge in software development teams : The role of project uncertainty. Information & Management 51 pp.417–429.

  • Mickan S. & Rodger S. 2000. Characteristics of effective teams: A literature review. Australian Health Review 23(3) pp.201–208.

  • Nahapiet J. & Ghoshal S. 1998. Social capital intellectual capital and the organizational advantage. Academy of Management Review 23(2) pp.242–266.

  • Nonaka I. 1991. The knowledge creating company. Harvard Business Review 69(6) p.96.

  • Pemsel S. & Wiewiora A. 2013. Project management office a knowledge broker in project-based organisations. International Journal of Project Management 31(1) pp.31–42.

  • Petruzzi M. & De Benedittis M. 2015. WhatsApp: A telemedicine platform for facilitating remote oral medicine consultation and improving clinical examinations. Oral Surgery Oral Medicine Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology.

  • Prencipe A. & Tell F. 2001. Inter-project learning: processes and outcomes of knowledge codification in project-based firms. Research Policy 30(9) pp.1373–1394.

  • Project Management Institute 2013. PMBOK Guide 5th ed. Pennsylvania: Project Management Institute Inc.

  • Rooke C.N. et al. 2010. Using the physical properties of artefacts to manage through-life knowledge flows in the built environment: an initial exploration. Construction Management and Economics 28(6) pp.601–613.

  • van Rooyen A. 2015. Distance education accounting students’ perceptions of social media integration. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 176 pp.444–450.

  • Sage D.J. Dainty A.R.J. & Brookes N.J. 2010. Who reads the project file? Exploring the power effects of knowledge tools in construction project management. Construction Management and Economics 28(6) pp.629–639.

  • Shachaf P. 2008. Cultural diversity and information and communication technology impacts on global virtual teams: An exploratory study. Information & Management 45(2) pp.131–142.

  • Shenhar A. 2001. One size does not fit all projects: Exploring classical contingency domains. Management Science 47(3) pp.394–414.

  • Stefanidis D. et al. 2015. Research priorities for multi-institutional colloborative research in surgical education. The American Journal of Surgery 209(1) pp.52–58.

  • Sultan A.J. 2014. Addiction to mobile text messaging applications is nothing to “lol” about. The Social Science Journal 51(1) pp.57–69.

  • Turner J. 2010. How to calculate the ROI of your social media campaign. Available at: [Accessed January 14 2016].

  • Watson L. et al. 2015. Ensuring safe communication in health care: a response to Johnston et al on their paper “Smartphones let surgeons know WhatsApp: an analysis of communication in emergency surgical teams.” American Journal of Surgery 211(1) pp.302–303.

  • Wilson T.D. 2005. The nonsense of knowledge management. In E. Maceviciute & T. D. Wilson eds. Introducing information management. London UK: Facet Publishing pp. 151–164.

  • Winkler R. 2013. WhatsApp hits 400 million users wants to stay independent. Available at: Wall Street Journal--Available at: [Accessed January 4 2016].

  • Yang L.-R. Chen J.-H. & Wang H.-W. 2012. Assessing impacts of information technology on project success through knowledge management practice. Automation in Construction 22 pp.182–191.

  • Yin R.K. 2009. Case study research: Design and methods 4th ed. London United Kingdom.: Sage Publications Inc.

  • Ziek P. & Anderson J.D. 2009. Communication dialogue and project management. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business 8(4) pp.788–803.

Journal information
Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 665 200 6
PDF Downloads 568 129 4