The dynamics of intergenerational knowledge transfer: case study of air traffic controllers in the FAA

Giora Hadar

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

1738 Downloads (Pure)


With populations aging in developed countries, organizations face a loss of intellectual capital as younger employees replace large numbers of retiring older workers. Effective knowledge transfer can help organizations mitigate disruptions caused by this transition. Intergenerational knowledge transfer is challenging, however, because each generation has unique attitudes and preferences towards training, work, and life. To explore those issues, this research assessed technology preferences and possibilities and the role of intergenerational communications in training air traffic controllers in the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a multigenerational, knowledge-intensive environment.
The research postulated that considering intergenerational differences and preferences could improve the efficacy of intergenerational knowledge transfer. It assessed preferences for capturing and transferring knowledge, including the tacit knowledge needed for improvising in new situations. In air traffic control, knowledge and experience are integral to job performance due to safety issues, the highly technical nature of the work, and the need for rapid decision-making under exacting conditions. Thus, this research explored the value of enhancing technology use to address younger workers’ preferences for working with their customary technologies and their facile adaptation of new technologies.
The research builds on KM theory and practices, adding the dimension of intergenerational knowledge transfer in operational and training environments. To generate the data, air traffic controllers, trainees, and students completed a questionnaire on current FAA learning modes and the possibility of augmenting training with social technologies and mobile smart devices. The overall research question was: how do age differences influence technology and collaboration preferences for capturing and transferring knowledge?
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Jorna, Rients, Supervisor
  • Karsten, Luchien, Supervisor
Award date12-Feb-2015
Place of PublicationGroningen
Print ISBNs978-90-367-7428-4
Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-7427-7
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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