Knowledge transfer (KT) constitutes one of the key pillars of a project-based organization’s (PBO) competitiveness and is an important factor for organizations’ sustainability performance. This research explores KT within small and medium enterprises (SMEs), where the research is still limited.

In an age where the management of knowledge plays an increased role for firms’ success, inter-project KT has become an important phenomenon to study, especially for PBOs. Effective KT not only brings economic benefits but also enhances firms’ environmental and social sustainability performance. However, to date, limited research has focused on ascertaining the conditions for effective KT within the SME context. SMEs often face further challenges with KT compared to larger organizations because of lack of resources and an insufficient strategic approach towards knowledge management. Correspondingly, through a case study, this study aimed to understand how interrelated organizational factors impact inter-project KT in project-based SMEs. Aspects that were found to impact KT could be grouped into three dimensions of organizational factors; project characteristics, organizational structure, and organizational culture.

The findings of the study both confirm and extend the account of literature on the subject. Furthermore, the findings provide practitioners with organizational factors that SMEs should consider when interacting with KT. Moreover, by considering the insight provided in this study, organizations can reduce the risk of repeating costly mistakes from past projects in ongoing or upcoming projects. Besides the economic advantages, the findings could help firms boost their environmental sustainability performance through, for instance, avoidance of duplication of resources. Also, from a social sustainability perspective, by engaging with the findings of this study organization can enhance their KT performance which in turn encourages employees to share ideas and creates a supportive work environment where employees feel valued and respected.