Knowledge management in SMEs: a literature review

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Abstract:

PurposeThe aim of this paper is to review research on knowledge management in small and medium-sized enterprises to identify gaps in the current body of knowledge, which justify future research directions. Design/methodology/approachThe study consists of a systematic review of 36-refereed empirical articles on knowledge management and small and medium-sized enterprises. FindingsThe areas of knowledge management implementation, knowledge management perception, and knowledge transfer are relatively well researched topics; whereas those of knowledge identification, knowledge storage/retention and knowledge utilisation are poorly understood. Given the prevalence of small and medium-sized enterprises there is a strong need for more research on this important topic. The future research directions proposed by the authors may help to develop a greater understanding of knowledge management in small and medium-sized enterprises. Research limitations/implicationsBy only using the ProQuest database this study may not have allowed a complete coverage of all empirical articles in the field of knowledge management in small and medium-sized enterprises. Yet, it is believed that the findings provide a valuable understanding of the current situation in this research field. The study proposes a number of future research directions, which may stimulate more intensive research in this important field. Originality/valueTo the best of the authors' knowledge, no systematic literature review on this topic has previously been published in academic journals.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Knowledge management; Research; Small to medium-sized enterprises; Systematic review

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/13673271211276173

Publication date: October 19, 2012

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