Knowledge Management Practices as the Basis of Innovation: An Integrated Perspective.

  • Nicolau Santos M
  • Martins Wane R
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Abstract

In recent years, there has been widespread debate about the relevance of intangible assets in general and knowledge in particular. Indeed, there is now a broad consensus that innovative capacities of companies to a great extent depend on their effectiveness in dealing with knowledge. Earlier research findings have already demonstrated that knowledge management (KM) practices contribute positively towards levels of innovative performance and that this input rises in accordance with organizational efforts to foster contexts favorable to KM. Our review of the literature identified three factors considered determinant to the success of a knowledge management strategy oriented to innovation: (1) enablers relating to a knowledge friendly organizational environment, (2) processes incorporating the appropriate KM tools and (3) innovation performance levels. Different analyses have been enforced to address the interrelationship between those three factors. However, very few research studies have adopted integrated models for the analysis of the interrelationships. Furthermore, a large majority of studies focus on the creation and sharing of knowledge, excluding the other knowledge cycle processes. There is a clear need to reach out to the other phases inherent to the KM cycle and integrate the findings into the overall variables making up KM. Leveraging KM practices to achieve innovation goals requires a deep understanding of the knowledge processes, what critical issues influence such implementation, and how all of these factors relate to each other. As a result, we posit that systems thinking provide a foundation that can facilitate such an integrative understanding and can enhance an effective KM practice. This study proposes a theoretical framework and outlines a series of research propositions that enables organizations to link knowledge enablers and practices with innovation performance. We argue that KM practices draw on the energy of the enablers and interact with them to generate new or significantly improved products. It seems to us that our framework developed the theoretical bases for understanding the specific relationships among the different core factors referred in the literature and therefore, it may be the starting point for further research aiming to understand how organizations can leverage KM for innovation. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Author-supplied keywords

  • INFORMATION resources management
  • INNOVATIONS in business
  • KNOWLEDGE management
  • NEW product development
  • PERSONNEL management
  • innovation performance
  • knowledge context
  • knowledge life cycle
  • knowledge management practices
  • knowledge management tools

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Authors

  • Maria João Nicolau Santos

  • Raky Martins Wane

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