Knowledge Management and Entrepreneurship: A Contradictory Recipe

Knowledge Management and Entrepreneurship: A Contradictory Recipe

Cesar Bandera (New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ, USA), Michael R. Bartolacci (Penn State University – Berks, Reading, PA, USA) and Katia Passerini (St. John's University, New York City, NY, USA)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJKM.2016070101
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Most literature on knowledge management (KM) focuses on large firms – the domain in which KM was originally developed – and most KM literature on entrepreneurship focuses on entrepreneurial activities in post-revenue firms. The domain of the startup, however, is traditionally very different from these, characterized by a lack of tangible assets and validated value proposition. The authors review the literature on KM and entrepreneurship with a particular focus on young micro-enterprises that have yet to cross the “valley of death” stage of maturation. Using the Dynamic Knowledge Creation Process as a guide, they elaborate on the challenges facing the implementation of KM in startups, and on the subsequent opportunities for startup growth. Finally, the authors reflect upon research questions that may engage future researchers in proposing strategies that better integrate KM as a discipline into the fabric of entrepreneurship and the startup domain.
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Knowledge Management And Small Enterprises In The Literature

The number of papers published per year on knowledge management and the small and medium enterprise (SME) has been increasing linearly from almost none prior to 2000; an analysis of the publications cited in Cerchione, Esposito et al. (2016) indicates that the number of KM papers published in a given year on the SME is roughly that of the previous year plus one (R2 = 0.90). In response to this growing interest on this topic, five reviews of this literature have been published in just the last four years (Durst and Runar Edvardsson, 2012; Edvardsson and Durst, 2013; Garbarino-Alberti and Pastorino, 2014; Cerchione, Esposito et al., 2016; Costa, Soares et al., 2016). These reviews agree that KM research has traditionally focused on the large company domain in which KM developed as a discipline, and only recently proceeded to address the domain of the SME.

KM has now been applied globally across many industry sectors – the Austrian tourism sector (Zehrer, 2011), legal language applications (Venturi, 2010), and production management (Berawi and Woodhead, 2005) to name just a few. However, only a few rigorous works exist in the literature relating KM to entrepreneurship. This could be due in part to the fact that entrepreneurial organizations typically have severely limited resources and many last only briefly, and consequently their ability and opportunity to implement KM practices before suffering the consequences of “knowledge mismanagement” are limited. In fact, one might say that the flat managerial structure and agile business processes characteristic of entrepreneurship are in direct opposition to the somewhat time consuming and structured processes traditionally associated with KM.

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