How to conduct a literature review: A literature review on knowledge management in SMEs

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  • 1

    A literature review on

    knowledge management in SMEs

    Roberto Cerchione*, Emilio Esposito**, Maria Rosaria Spadaro***

    Department of Industrial Engineering - University of Naples Federico II

    P.le Tecchio, 80 - 80125 Naples - Italy

    * roberto.cerchione@unina.it, ** emilio.esposito@unina.it,

    *** mariarosaria.spadaro@unina.it

    to cite this paper: Cerchione, R., Esposito, E., Spadaro, M.R. A literature

    review on knowledge management in SMEs (2016) Knowledge Management

    Research and Practice, 14 (2), pp. 169-177.

    to link to this paper: doi:10.1057/kmrp.2015.12

    9th IFKAD Conference

    Matera, Italy, 11-13 June 2014

    mailto:roberto.cerchione@unina.itmailto:emilio.esposito@unina.itmailto:mariarosaria.spadaro@unina.it

  • 2

    Agenda

    Background

    Literature review:

    Sampling

    Classification

    Analysis

    Gap recognition

    Formulation of the research questions

    2

  • A vast literature underlines that in modern industrial environment

    SME are playing a crucial role for large companies competitiveness

    There is an abdundance of studies describing how large companies

    are successfully practising KM but the reasons why small firms show

    both poor usage of KM systems and why the benefits of the

    adoption of KMS have not been fully exploited by small and medium

    sized enterprises are still unclear

    Nevertheless

    The reality is constantly changing and the ICTs are cutting

    human and financial barriers connecting KMSs adoption in SMEs

    by offering new tools that are:

    Low cost

    Ease to use

    More effective

    3

    Background (I)

  • There is a strong need for more research on this

    important topic

    Background (II)

  • Recent reviews of the literature stress some evidence concerning the phases

    of Knowledge management process (Durst and Edvardsson, 2002).

    They highlight that:

    The areas of KM implementation, perception and transfer are well researched

    The areas of knowledge identification, storage and utilisation are rather poor

    Our literature review aims to explore the factors affecting (enablers and

    barriers), the used systems (practices and tools), and the impact of KM on

    firms performance

    The Research aim

    By a review research on KM in SMEs:

    To identify gaps in the literature

    Future research tracks

  • 6

    We can identify the three following main steps to get a

    systematic study of existing publications adapting Kolbe

    and Burnett,1991, approach:

    1. sampling

    2. classification

    3. analysis

    The literature review

  • 7

    Sampling

    The sampling phase is aimed at identifying all relevant papers that cover the topic of knowledge management in small and medium firms

    The search was conducted using the combination of the following keywords: knowledge management, SMEs, small business, small firms, small enterprises.

    Journal articles, which appeared in the period from 2003 to 2013, were collected. These articles were sourced from Scopus database database and ISI WEB of KNOWLEDGE

    Yielded documents: 269 journal articles

    Selection criteria: titles, keywords, and abstracts

    70 journal articles

  • Journal title Number

    Journal of Knowledge Management 8

    African Journal of Business Management 5

    International Small Business Journal 4

    Knowledge management Research & Practice 4Human Factors and Ergonomics In Manufacturing 3

    Business Information Review 2

    Industrial Management & Data Systems 2

    International Journal of Information Management 2

    International Journal of Management and Enterprise Development 2

    International Journal of Technology Management 2

    Acta Polytechnica Hungarica 1

    Actual Problems of Economics 1

    Advances in Electrical and Computer Engineering 1

    Asian Social Science 1

    Contemporary Economics 1

    Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management 1

    Decision Support Systems 1

    Entrepreneurship and Regional Development 1

    European Journal of Information Systems 1

    Expert Systems with Applications 1

    Information Systems Management 1

    Information Technology and Management 1

    Information Technology and People 1

    Innovation Management Policy & Practice 1

    International Journal Management and Enterprise Development 1

    International Journal of Engineering and Innovative Technology 1

    International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research 1

    International Journal of Human Resource Management 1

    International Journal of Production Research 1

    Journal of Applied Sciences 1

    Journal of Documentation 1

    Journal of Engineering Design 1

    Journal of Information & Knowledge Mangement 1

    Journal of Information Science 1

    Journal of Management & Governance 1

    Journal of software: evolution and process 1

    Management Decision 1

    Management Research News 1

    Measuring Business Excellence 1

    Prometheus 1

    Small Business Economics 1

    Research Policy 1

    Structural Survey 1

    the journal of information and knowledge management systems 1

    Total Quality Management and Business Excellence 1

    VINE 1

    Total 70

    Journal ranking

  • 9

    Classification

    Research areas

    Multidisciplinary Engineering

    Information

    System

    Computer

    Science

    Operation Research

    and

    Management Science

    10 7 7 46

  • 10

    Classification (I)

    0

    2

    4

    6

    8

    10

    12

    14

    2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

    Nu

    mb

    ers

    of

    art

    icle

    s

  • Classification (II) by country of authors

    affiliation

  • Analysis (I): Methodologies

    0

    5

    10

    15

    20

    25

    30

    35

    40

    survey case study theoretical work others

    Num

    ber

    of

    article

    s

    Methodologies

  • 13

    Unit of investigation: The SME

    GAP: How knowledge transfers between small supplying firms (SMEs sub-group) members has not fully exploited (making reference to channels or component)

    SME

    SMEs network

  • 14

    Classification by object areas

    object areas

    Factors

    affecting

    KM in

    SMEs

    KM and firm

    performance KM SYSTEMS

    47% (33) 17% (12) 36% (25)

  • 15

    Subject area (I): Factors affecting KM in

    SMEs

    Factors affecting KM in SMEs (33papers)

    Internal factors

    (23 papers)

    Managerial influence

    Resource influence

    Culture Technical

    infrastructure

    Contingency factors

    (6 papers)

    Barriers (4 papers)

  • Internal factors

    Authors

    Managerial influence Human resource Culture Technical infrastructure

    Leadership Measurement Organizational aspects Training Motivation Trust, collaboration Information

    technology

    Wong (2005)

    Wong and Aspinwall

    (2005)

    Tan and Hung. (2006)

    Deng (2008)

    Migdadi (2008)

    Pillania (2008)

    Cant et al (2009)

    Gholipour et al. (2010)

    Jones et al. (2010)

    Valmohammadi (2010)

    Hussain et al. (2011)

    Lee and Lan (2011)

    Boden et al. (2012)

    Tseng et al. (2012)

    De Sa-Prez(2012)

    Chen et al. (2012)

    Chen et al. (2013)

    Patalas-Maliszewska

    and Hochmeister

    (2011)

    Costa and Jimenez

    (2009)

    Bocquet and Mothe

    (2010)

    Montequin et al (2006)

    Eze, (2013)

    Wee (2013

    16

  • 17

    Subject area (I): some evidence

    The first well researched area concerns internal factors for KM

    Very little attention has given to the barriers (5%) connecting to KMSs implementation which seem to belong more to cultural area rather than technological one

    GAP: there is a lack of a detailed analysis on the

    barriers preventing the adoption of KM approach

  • Subject area(II): KM in SMEs and firm

    performance

    Organization oriented performance analysis

    (12 papers)

    Human performance (creativity, staff performance,

    increasing employees

    number)

    Financial performance (profit, sales growth, return

    to investment)

    Technical performance (innovation, product quality,

    productivity, efficiency)

    Market performance (market share increase, service quality, market flexibility, reputation,

    customer satisfaction)

    Managerial performance

  • Papers dealing with the impact of knowledge

    management on performance by author/s

    Financial

    performance

    Market

    performance

    Technical

    performance

    Human

    performance

    Managerial

    performance

    Total

    Alegre et al.

    (2011)

    1

    Bagnoli and

    Vedovato (2012)

    2

    Daud and Yusoff

    (2011)

    4

    Delen et al.

    (2013)

    3

    Egbu et al.(2005)

    4

    Filippini et al.

    (2012)

    1

    Gholami et al.

    (2013)

    5

    Liu and Abdalla

    (2013)

    5

    Salojrvi et al.

    (2004)

    1

    Soon and Zaino

    (2011)

    4

    Talebi and

    Tajeddin (2011)

    2

    Wei et al.

    (2011)

    5

    Total 8 7 11 6 5

    19

  • Subject area (II): some evidence

    The articles belonging to the second cluster deal with the improvement

    for SMEs in terms of components of firm performance thanks to KM

    adoption

    Gap: Further empirical evidence could strengthen

    this analysis and confirm that the impact of

    KM on firms performance is extremely wide

    affecting several performance indicators

    simultaneously

  • Subject area(III): KM systems in SMEs

    KM SYSTEMS

    KM practices (17 papers): communities of practice, job rotation,

    coaching, mentoring, storytelling, status meeting

    KM tools (8 papers): blogs, information portals, wikis

  • Subject area (III): some evidence

    KMSs are based mostly on human oriented practices

    rather than on KM tools, it is in accordance with

    Durstrecognition concerning knowledge identification

    lack in literature

    The used KM tools are simple and old while more

    sophisticated technoligies are rarely used

    GAP: There is a clear need for a deeper analysis of the

    KMSs used by SMEs.

  • Rising GAPS

    Object

    area

    Gaps

    Internal

    factor

    Contingency

    factor

    Barriers KM

    and firm

    performance

    Km

    practices

    Km

    tools

    GAPs

    SMEs 1 GAP GAP GAP

    GAPs

    Network

    SMEs 2 GAP

    GAP

    GAP

    GAP

    GAP

    GAP

  • Research questions

    The above literature analysis allows us to

    formulate the following 9 research questions:

    RQ1: What are the main KMSs adopted by SMEs?

    RQ2: What are the major barriers hindering the adoption of KMSs in these firms?

    RQ3: What is the impact of knowledge management on firm performance?

    RQ4: What are the triggers, barriers, practices, tools and the impact of KM on firms performance according to SMEsnetwork viewpoint?

  • Research design

    Literature review

    Gaps recognition

    RQs

    Methodologies

    Empirical study

    Finding

    25

  • Roberto Cerchione

    University of Naples, Federico II 30 - 10th Doctoral Workshop on Purchasing and Supply Management, Bologna 15 October 2014

    Roberto Cerchione

    ROBERTO CERCHIONE

    University of Naples Federico II

    E-mail: roberto.cerchione@unina.it

    http://www.google.it/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjymprc353LAhWKHJoKHR6tCuEQjRwIBw&url=http://docplayer.it/5340995-Standard-europei-e-norme-italiane-dal-mandato-smart-metering-alle-norme-cig.html&psig=AFQjCNEE1F2oIOAqmU2I4etDeUS4kZKchQ&ust=1456861788285416mailto:roberto.cerchione@unina.it

  • 27

    to cite this paper: Cerchione, R., Esposito, E., Spadaro, M.R. A

    literature review on knowledge management in SMEs (2016)

    Knowledge Management Research and Practice, 14 (2), pp. 169-177.

    to link to this paper: doi:10.1057/kmrp.2015.12

    A literature review on

    knowledge management in SMEs

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