Dissertation Ismo Laukkanen February 8 2008


Dissertation 08.02.2008 Ismo Laukkanen "Knowledge transfer and competence development in complex paper production environments"

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Faculty of Chemistry and Materials Sciences for public examination and debate in Auditorium Ke2 (Komppa Auditorium) at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 8th of February, 2008, at 12 noon.


Global business transformation, increased technological complexity and knowledge intensive work have increased the importance of knowledge and competence as a competitive edge in paper industry.

The goal of the study was to develop a new concept for knowledge transfer and competence development and to use the new concept in industrial paper production unit start-up projects. The outcomes of the concept are evaluated at the personnel, strategic business unit and corporate levels. The operational concept includes modelling of organizational competences and production processes at different levels, and the subsequent development of the knowledge transfer and simulation tools. The development of the simulator was based on hybrid process modelling in a web-based JAVA environment. The development of knowledge and performance support systems was based on strategic competence management and a web-based XHTML environment. The theoretical framework of the concept was based on the knowledge management, organizational learning and strategic competence management in complex manufacturing environments.

Longitudinal multiple case studies carried out in the three industrial business start-up projects, where the concept has been constructed and used, are described, including planning, concept development and evaluation of the outcomes. A corporate level knowledge support and learning system called KnowPap was also evaluated. The focus in the evaluation was on the assessment of the competences, evaluation of the participant experiences collected by questionnaires, and analysis of the business benefits at the strategic business unit and corporate levels.

The new concept was found to improve knowledge transfer and competence development during the start-up of a new paper production unit. It was possible to localize and transfer the knowledge and tools originally developed in the European business unit, to the Chinese production unit. The participants perceived the new concept and tools to be very useful compared to traditional methods. At the production unit level, new world records were achieved in business start-ups, e.g. in China just eight months after start-up. At the corporate level, the benefits were improved management of knowledge- and systematic development of strategy-based new knowledge and competences. The concept and the tools developed in this study, optimally, follow the life cycle of paper production units.


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