Do Technology Transfer Metrics Distort Knowledge Transfer Processes? Assessing Different Views of the Production and Diffusion of University-Generated Knowledge
Andrew Joel Nelson
University of Oregon
Last modified: February 28, 2010
While “knowledge diffusion” is a popular topic in the managerial discourse, its study has been shaped in subtle but important ways by the conflation of “knowledge diffusion” with the process of “technology transfer,” particularly as the latter is concerned with engineering and science. In this paper, I argue that dominant operationalizations of knowledge diffusion through the more limited lens of technology transfer obscure important diffusion channels, processes and influences. I present data surrounding a unique university group that simultaneously engages in musical composition, sound research, and audio technology development to show how the diffusion lens employed dramatically alters perceptions of active individuals along with organizational reach and impact. Given the strong interrelationships between activities picked up through these various lenses, I argue that studies of knowledge diffusion must do more to engage with a richer conceptualization and operationalization of this construct.