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Knowledge management, innovation orientation and innovation performance


  • Lorraine Uhlaner
  • Haibo Zhou
  • Sita Tan


Western economies are increasingly viewed as knowledge-driven (Audretch and Thurik, 2001, 2004). Knowledge plays a crucial role in determining firm innovation capability and in enhancing working life quality of knowledge workers (Corso, Martini, Pelligrini, and Paolucci, 2001). Previous studies show that knowledge is managed in a different manner in SMEs. It is identified that knowledge is created, shared, transferred and applied via people based mechanisms in SMEs. Although research and policy interest in knowledge management is beginning to grow for SMEs (Sparrow, 2001; Wong, & Radcliffe, 2000), still relatively limited attention has been paid to understand the specifics of knowledge management issues for SMEs and to KM’s contribution to innovation performance in particular. Furthermore, most of studies are conducted by using methods on either qualitative case studies or very small samples. The aim of this study is to provide a quantitative insight of the relationship between KM and innovation performance of SMEs based on a large sample of Dutch SMEs, as well as the role of innovation orientation in this relationship. Our findings indicate that knowledge management- external acquisition and internal sharing- contribute positively to exploratory innovation performance of a firm. A full mediated effect of innovation orientation is identified in the relationship between external acquisition and exploratory innovation performance. We discuss how KM contributes to innovation performance, using the perspective of absorptive capacity. Based on a literature review on absorptive capacity, an implicit relationship between knowledge management practices and building a firm’s absorptive capacity is identified.

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  • Lorraine Uhlaner & Haibo Zhou & Sita Tan, 2007. "Knowledge management, innovation orientation and innovation performance," Scales Research Reports H200718, EIM Business and Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:eim:papers:h200718

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