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Organisational forms and knowledge management: one size fits all?

Organisational forms and knowledge management: one size fits all? In the new economy, a firm's sustainable competitive advantage flows from its ability to create and exploit new knowledge. Consequently, the need for executives to manage this process effectively is greater than ever. The extant knowledge management literature contains an implicit assumption that a standard approach with universal applicability to this process exists. Yet many organisations adopting this approach fail to realise the anticipated benefits. In this paper, the underlying causes for these failures are discussed and the assumption of a standard knowledge management approach critically challenged. To this end, the organisational form framework by Miles and Snow is integrated, for the first time, with the knowledge management models by Nonaka. Through the integration of these two frameworks, it is shown that the choice of knowledge management approach cannot be unqualified but must be closely aligned with the organisation's strategic and operational form in order for the anticipated benefits to be reaped. Our analysis suggests three conclusions: One, Prospector-type organisations will tend to adopt Bottom-Up approaches for effective knowledge creation; two, Defender-type organisations will tend to adopt Top-Down approaches; and three, Analyser types will adopt Middle-Up-Down knowledge creation approaches. We provide directions for future research. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Knowledge Management Studies Inderscience Publishers

Organisational forms and knowledge management: one size fits all?

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Publisher
Inderscience Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © Inderscience Enterprises Ltd. All rights reserved
ISSN
1743-8268
eISSN
1743-8276
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In the new economy, a firm's sustainable competitive advantage flows from its ability to create and exploit new knowledge. Consequently, the need for executives to manage this process effectively is greater than ever. The extant knowledge management literature contains an implicit assumption that a standard approach with universal applicability to this process exists. Yet many organisations adopting this approach fail to realise the anticipated benefits. In this paper, the underlying causes for these failures are discussed and the assumption of a standard knowledge management approach critically challenged. To this end, the organisational form framework by Miles and Snow is integrated, for the first time, with the knowledge management models by Nonaka. Through the integration of these two frameworks, it is shown that the choice of knowledge management approach cannot be unqualified but must be closely aligned with the organisation's strategic and operational form in order for the anticipated benefits to be reaped. Our analysis suggests three conclusions: One, Prospector-type organisations will tend to adopt Bottom-Up approaches for effective knowledge creation; two, Defender-type organisations will tend to adopt Top-Down approaches; and three, Analyser types will adopt Middle-Up-Down knowledge creation approaches. We provide directions for future research.

Journal

International Journal of Knowledge Management StudiesInderscience Publishers

Published: Jan 1, 2006

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