The Governance of Knowledge in Project-based Organizations

Sofia Pemsel*, Ralf Müller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This research investigates patterns of knowledge governance practices in project-based organizations (PBOs). Five propositions about knowledge governance in PBOs were deductively and empirically tested using qualitative data from 82 interviews. The results were triangulated with those of prior studies. Results indicate that knowledge governance practices in PBOs are impacted by structural and situational factors, such as being a subsidiary or standalone PBO, a PBO striving for excellence or not, as well as some preconditions, such as the executives' competence in project governance. The results show that informal governance mechanisms are more useful than formal when it comes to knowledge creating processes. Governance of informal knowledge creating mechanisms appears to be complex for executives and their preconceptions showed either to be enablers or barriers to productive knowledge governance practices. Executive's competence and preconditions, concerning aspects like human capabilities and attitudes to professional ethos, seems to impact knowledge governance strategies. In subsidiary PBOs knowledge governance provides practitioners with proper assistance to avoid unbeneficial situations of having knowledge silos among loosely coupled islands.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)865-876
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • End-users
  • Knowledge governance
  • Knowledge management
  • Project-based organizations
  • Project-oriented organizations

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