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The Challenge of Knowledge Management in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs): Subjective, Social and Political Dimensions

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posted on 30.01.2019, 13:47 authored by Dimitrios Andronikou
This study explores how and to what extent do subjective, social and political dimensions of the organisation condition perceptions and implementation of knowledge management (KM) in SMEs. The literature review showed that KM in SMEs has not been recognised as a priority in their agendas and in most cases, they practise informal KM. That is, without labelling it as KM and without initiatives such as strategies, policies, action plans, and projects guided by the relevant concepts and the specific terminology. The study found that KM is practised rather incidentally and informally as separate parts of IT tools and activities contributing to the organisational operation. How these organisations manage their knowledge depends mainly on the owner-director and their personal point of view (mental models and the quality of practical wisdom) in relation to other social, political and contextual factors. The heterogeneity of SMEs, in terms of ownership (family and non-family business), size, sector, knowledge-intensive and labour-intensive, informs how the actors understand and practise KM in organisations. Recently, a new prospect of KM has opened with the recognition of KM and the inclusion of organisational knowledge in the revised version ISO 9001:2015 ‘Quality Management Systems-Requirements’ (ISO, 2015). However, hitherto this change in the standard has passed almost unnoticed by most organisations, and therefore it is still unknown how that will inform the practice of KM henceforth.



Courtney, Richard; Bishop, Daniel

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School of Management

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University of Leicester

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