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Knowledge Management in the SME and its Relationship to Strategy, Family Orientation and Organization Learning


  • Zhou, H.
  • Uhlaner, L.M.


In this study, we examine the prevalence of different KM practices and the organizational determinants of KM among SMEs by conducting a quantitative study of empirical data from nearly 500 Dutch SMEs. Our empirical results show that knowledge is managed in a people-based approach in SMEs. SMEs are most likely to acquire knowledge by staying in touch with professionals and experts outside the company and they incline to share knowledge and experience by talking to each other. Furthermore, KM is dependent on other organizational resources and processes. Organizational learning and competitive strategy with a formality approach are the positive determinants of KM while family orientation is a negative determinant of it. One of the challenges in the current study was to clearly distinguish, on an empirical basis, the previously defined concepts of knowledge management practices and organizational learning. Although in theory, they are distinct, the results of this study lead us to conclude that they may overlap in practice. In the conclusion, we recommend a learning-oriented knowledge management model for SMEs which combines aspects of the two literatures.

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  • Zhou, H. & Uhlaner, L.M., 2009. "Knowledge Management in the SME and its Relationship to Strategy, Family Orientation and Organization Learning," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2009-026-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
  • Handle: RePEc:ems:eureri:15914

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Steier, Lloyd, 2003. "Variants of agency contracts in family-financed ventures as a continuum of familial altruistic and market rationalities," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 597-618, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rayees Farooq & Sandeep Vij, 2019. "Does Market Orientation Mediate between Knowledge Management Orientation and Business Performance?," Journal of Information & Knowledge Management (JIKM), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 18(04), pages 1-35, December.

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    More about this item


    SMEs; family orientation; knowledge management; organizational learning; strategy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • M - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • O20 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - General
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D

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