Building on previous research which showed that the loss of staff could have a significance impact on
the out-turn performance of a project; this work seeks to explore the relationship between knowledge
management and human resource management. To maintain sustainable competitive advantage within
the construction sector, managers need to recognise the essential skills/knowledge that staff possess;
consider how this may be leveraged; and retained within the organisation.
The paper presents the findings of a study that examined the views of 29 senior construction industry
professionals. Whilst companies placed significant focus on information and data management, a
need was recognised to develop opportunities for sharing tacit knowledge through human activity.
The work also revealed that developing an effective knowledge sharing culture is seen as an essential
ingredient to gaining competitive advantage.
From a human resource (HR) perspective there was evidence of good practice with regard to staff
development and the recognition that this was essential for continued competitive advantage. These
HR processes identified and developed competencies and behaviours for specific roles, which aided
career progression and was seen as an essential ingredient for staff retention. With regard to projects;
explicit processes were in place to mitigate the loss of knowledgeable staff but findings suggest that
these are not yet sufficient to fully retain knowledge capital.