Managing the knowledge of frontline employees in hierarchical organizations: The fundamental role of transversal actors

By Sarah Nogues, Diane-Gabrielle Tremblay

English

In the knowledge economy, it is in every company’s interest to engage in managing and creating knowledge in a process of continuous innovation. For large, highly hierarchized companies who seek to control their employees’ work, recognizing the latter’s communautarian logic and implicit practices is challenging, especially when a customer service is involved. Our paper questions the possibility of a knowledge ecology in this type of organizations based on the work of Etienne Wenger. We study the case of commercial airline cabin crews. We led a qualitative field research with semi-directive interviews with 59 flight attendants and service directors from three Western airlines. Our results show the importance of transversal roles in managing the knowledge of professional communities in large companies with a strong hierarchical structure. JEL Codes: O30, M5, R49

Keywords

  • Community of Practice
  • Knowledge Management
  • Innovation
  • Cabin Crews
  • Customer Service
  • Knowledge Ecology
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