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Knowledge management in the firm: concepts and issues


  • Palle Rasmussen
  • Peter Nielsen


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to set focus on, and discuss the concept of knowledge, and show how the interrelations between knowledge and other concepts, such as learning, have become a decisive element in managing human resources and firm performance. Design/methodology/approach - The dimensions of knowledge management are identified and related to learning, organizational configurations, human resources management and institutional environments in order to identify and percent the most important approaches to knowledge management and the development over time. Findings - Creating, transforming and utilizing various kinds of knowledge as a firm-specific asset is a very important element of firm competitiveness and innovative performance. In managing knowledge learning and innovation learning approaches are central. The paper identifies various approaches to learning and strategies to innovation and illustrates how combinations of these might benefit firm performance. It also stresses the preconditions of employee involvement and participation to knowledge management and not least the importance of interaction with environmental resources. To improve performance firms should be aware of the importance of deliberately combining various approaches to innovation and learning in order to include a maximum of actors as sources in building knowledge assets and strategies. Research limitations/implications - Most of the empirical examples are from private sector enterprises, even though the theoretical arguments should also be valid for the public sector. Originality/value - The paper relates knowledge management to theoretical approaches on learning, organization and innovation and shows the growing importance of these constructs in firm performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Palle Rasmussen & Peter Nielsen, 2011. "Knowledge management in the firm: concepts and issues," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 32(5/6), pages 479-493, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijmpps:v:32:y:2011:i:5/6:p:479-493

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jensen, Morten Berg & Johnson, Bjorn & Lorenz, Edward & Lundvall, Bengt Ake, 2007. "Forms of knowledge and modes of innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 680-693, June.
    2. Bengt-Âke Lundvall & Peter Nielsen, 1999. "Competition and transformation in the learning economy - Illustrated by the Danish case," Revue d'Économie Industrielle, Programme National Persée, vol. 88(1), pages 67-89.
    3. Isabelle Huault & V. Perret & S. Charreire-Petit, 2007. "Management," Post-Print halshs-00337676, HAL.
    4. B.-A. Lundvall & P. Rasmussen & Edward Lorenz, 2008. "Education in the Learning Economy," Post-Print halshs-00464519, HAL.
    5. Bj–rn Johnson & Edward Lorenz & Bengt-Åke Lundvall, 2002. "Why all this fuss about codified and tacit knowledge?," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 245-262.
    6. Ake Lundvall & Bengt, 2003. "Why the new economy is a learning economy," ECONOMIA E POLITICA INDUSTRIALE, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2003(117).
    7. Francisco Mas-Verdú, 2007. "Services and innovation systems: European models of Technology Centres," Service Business, Springer;Pan-Pacific Business Association, vol. 1(1), pages 7-23, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Soha Farouk Radwan & Mohammed Naim Milhem, 2015. "Knowledge Management Towards Connecting Minds — A Proposed Concept for Expo 2020," Journal of Information & Knowledge Management (JIKM), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 14(04), pages 1-12, December.


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