Knowledge management approaches of small and medium-sized firms: a cluster analysis

Journal ar
  • Volumen: 49
  • Número: 1
  • Fecha: 21 enero 2020
  • Páginas: 73-87
  • ISSN: 0368492X
  • Tipo de fuente: Revista
  • DOI: 10.1108/K-03-2019-0211
  • Tipo de documento: Artículo
  • Editorial: Emerald Group Holdings Ltd.
© 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited.Purpose: This paper aims to categorise the approaches to knowledge management (KM) by companies. In the literature, there is no consensus on a universal or ¿best¿ approach to KM. Especially, this paper singles out and discusses the variegated features that characterise the implementation of KM by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) having different characteristics. Design/methodology/approach: A cluster analysis was used to detect the possible distinct traits of companies that have different approaches to KM. The unit of analysis is represented by small- and medium-sized knowledge intensive business services (KIBS) firms. Data were collected by means of an extensive survey of 223 companies in different European countries and sectors. Findings: Three clusters were identified: Companies showing a relative ¿unconscious¿ attention to KM and implementing KM practices without particular awareness; Companies adopting a more conscious approach and using a significant number of KM practices; and companies with a marginal propensity towards KM. Research limitations/implications: This study considers only KIBS, and future research should include other economic sectors. In addition, a convenience sample was used. Practical implications: This paper improves awareness of managers of small companies concerning different KM approaches that can be adopted. It highlights that a conscious adoption of a KM strategy involves the introduction of a set of consistent practices. Originality/value: The topic of KM approaches by small companies is still underdeveloped in the literature. Also, the paper proposes a multi-contextual investigation that makes it possible to highlight the transversality of KM approaches across different countries or sectors.

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