An advanced systemic lesson learned knowledge model for project organisations

PhD Thesis


Duffield, Stephen Mark. 2017. An advanced systemic lesson learned knowledge model for project organisations. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/5bf78045f93e2
Title

An advanced systemic lesson learned knowledge model for project organisations

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorDuffield, Stephen Mark
SupervisorWhitty, Jon
Todhunter, Barrie
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages346
Year2017
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/5bf78045f93e2
Abstract

The research study described in this thesis was inspired by many years as a project manager, watching the failure of organisation projects, and the lessons learned. This led to the research idea of how can the lessons learned enable organisations to learn from past project experiences to drive continuous improvement.
The thesis is based on five published publications that collectively make a significant contribution to knowledge of the development of the Systemic Lessons Learned Knowledge (Syllk) model (Paper One) and application of the Syllk model (Papers Two, Three and Four) and the research methodology (Paper Five). I have applied an action research study which addressed the dual imperatives of both the research and problem solving by using a series of action research cycles on three separate projects.
The research method consisted of multiple spiral action research cycles. I have demonstrated how to apply the Syllk model to enable the organisations to disseminate and apply knowledge/lessons learned. The initial planning stage consisted of interviews, followed by focus groups, to identify the facilitators and barriers that impact upon the initial design of the Syllk model within the organisation. Established knowledge management practices were aligned with each of the Syllk elements to address the identified barriers and facilitate learning as the action cycles progressed. Initiatives were implemented, and actions were observed, monitored, and then evaluated after a period of reflection using an after-action review process. The results from this research showed how knowledge capability can be wired (distributed) across organisational systems (capability networked) and how the Syllk model can be used to conceptually facilitate this.
The research study described in this thesis provides insights into how an organisation learns and how it can be effectively wired to acquire and accumulate knowledge, including from lessons learned. The thesis highlights that the variables of the Syllk model (learning, culture, social, technology, process and infrastructure) were found to be the most dynamic and influential for the organisation participating in the action research. The action research outcomes showed that an organisation is not a simple structure, but rather, a complex interweaving and coupling (capability network) of the Syllk elements of people and systems. Processes in the organisation need to align with the elements of the Syllk model. Using action research is one possible way forward. One needs to understand how the organisation is wired for knowledge and lessons learned.
The findings from this research form a sound structure for future research studies based on the application of the Syllk model. This research supports the premise that to successfully manage projects and day-to-day business activities, the learning process is challenged by many barriers. The thesis demonstrates that action research can benefit project management and knowledge management researchers and practitioners.

KeywordsProject management; Knowledge management; Lessons learned; Organisational learning; Swiss cheese model; Action research
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020350711. Organisational planning and management
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Management and Enterprise
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Related outputs

A 'lived experienced’ tool for managing and building project delivery capability
van der Hoorn, Bronte, Duffield, Stephen and Whitty, S. Jonathan. 2016. "A 'lived experienced’ tool for managing and building project delivery capability." 30th Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference (ANZAM 2016). Brisbane, Australia 06 - 09 Dec 2016 Australia.
A systemic lessons learned and captured knowledge (SLLCK) model for project organizations
Duffield, Stephen and Whitty, Jonathan. 2012. "A systemic lessons learned and captured knowledge (SLLCK) model for project organizations." 9th Annual Project Management Australia Conference (PMOz 2012). Melbourne, Australia 15 - 16 Aug 2012 South Brisbane, Australia.
Application of the Syllk model wiring an organisation for the capability of an online community of practice
Duffield, Stephen Mark. 2016. "Application of the Syllk model wiring an organisation for the capability of an online community of practice." VINE: The Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems. 46 (2), pp. 267-294. https://doi.org/10.1108/VJIKMS-09-2015-0052
Developing a systemic lessons learned knowledge model for organisational learning through projects
Duffield, Stephen and Whitty, S. Jonathan. 2015. "Developing a systemic lessons learned knowledge model for organisational learning through projects." International Journal of Project Management. 33 (2), pp. 311-324. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijproman.2014.07.004