Knowledge management at SMEs: Five peculiarities

Kevin C. Desouza, Yukika Awazu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

267 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose - Managing knowledge is a critical capability for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to master because it helps them leverage their most critical resource. Organizational knowledge is the salient resource at the disposal of SMEs in terms of availability, access, and depth. Successful SMEs are those who can leverage their knowledge in an effective and efficient manner, so as to make up deficiencies in traditional resources, like land, labor, and capital. The purpose of this article to to discuss five peculiarities about knowledge management practices at SMEs. Design/methodology/approach - The article draws findings from a nine-month investigation of knowledge management practices at 25 SMEs. Findings - The research discovered that SMEs do not manage knowledge the same way as larger organizations. Viewing SME knowledge management practices as scaled down versions of the practices found in larger organizations is incorrect. SMEs have understandable resource constraints, and hence have to be creative in working around these limitations in order to manage knowledge. Originality/value - The paper sheds some light on peculiarities in SME knowledge management practices, which will hopefully entice scholars and practitioners to follow-up with more detailed research undertakings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-43
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Knowledge Management
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 6 2006

Keywords

  • Information systems
  • Knowledge management
  • Small to medium-sized enterprises

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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