Increasing Knowledge Focus - a Means for Entrepreneurs to Remain on a Growth Path: Essays on the Role and Nature of Knowledge Management in Finnish SMEs (summary section only)

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http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:951-555-880-8
Title: Increasing Knowledge Focus - a Means for Entrepreneurs to Remain on a Growth Path: Essays on the Role and Nature of Knowledge Management in Finnish SMEs (summary section only)
Author: Salojärvi, Sari
Contributor: Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Department of Management and Organisation, Management and Organisation
Publisher: Svenska handelshögskolan
Date: 2005-05-11
Language: en
Number of pages: 1837 bytes
Belongs to series: Economics and Society - 145
ISBN: 951-555-880-8
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10227/117
http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:951-555-880-8
Thesis level: Doctoral thesis
Abstract: This study explores the role and nature of knowledge management (KM) in small and medium-sized companies (SMEs). Even though the role of knowledge as a competitive advantage is commonly recognized in the SME sector, almost no attention has been paid to the managing and developing of knowledge in SMEs. This thesis consists of three different sub-studies that were reported in four individual essays. The results of the questionnaire study indicate that nearly all companies that responded to the questionnaire (N = 108) found intangible assets, i.e. knowledge resources to be their main source of competitive advantage. However, only less than a third of the companies actively deal with knowledge management. The results also indicate a significant correlation between activity in knowledge management and sustainable organic growth of the company. The interview study (N = 10) explored the context and motives of the SMEs for managing their intangible assets, and the concrete practices of knowledge management. It turned out that KM facilitated change management, clarification of the vision and new strategy formulation. All the interviewed companies were aiming at improved innovation process, new ways of doing business and attaining an increased “knowledge focus” in their business. Nearly all also aspired to grow significantly. Thus, KM provides a strategy for these SMEs to guarantee their survival and sustainability in the turbulent markets. The action research was a process to assess and develop intangible resources in three companies. The experienced benefits were the clarification of future focus and strategy, creation of a common language to discuss strategic issues within the company, as well as improved balance of different categories of intangible assets. After the process all the case companies had developed in the chosen key areas. Thus, by systematic knowledge management the implementation of new strategic orientation (knowledge focusing) was facilitated. The findings can be summarized in two main points. First, knowledge management seems to serve the purpose of change, renewal and new strategic orientation in the SMEs. It also seems to be closely related to organic growth and innovation. All of these factors can be considered dimensions of entrepreneurship. Second, the conscious development of intangible assets can increase the balance of different categories of intangible assets and the overall knowledge focusing of business. In the case companies, this in turn facilitated the path to the improved overall performance.
Subject: intangible assets
intellectual capital management
knowledge
knowledge management
entrepreneurship
smes
strategy
growth
product development
innovation
competitive edge
change
renewal
entrepreneurial life cycle
sustainable development
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