Skip to main content
Log in

A business process improvement framework for knowledge-intensive entrepreneurial ventures

  • Published:
The Journal of Technology Transfer Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Pushed by the transition towards the knowledge economy, as well as several other change drivers, an ever-increasing number of knowledge intensive ventures are relying on operational knowledge intensity in order to generate value. Through their interaction with their varied stakeholders—from actors within their supply chains to educational and financial institutions—knowledge intensive enterprises are increasingly becoming a key component of regional economic stability. Within their complex environment, these organisations lack the support of suitable frameworks to inform their efforts to optimise, adapt and improve their underlying business processes in order to maximise the efficiency of their performance and pursue growth ambitions. This paper examines the distinct nature of knowledge intensive entrepreneurial ventures (KIEs) and the applicability of current business process improvement (BPI) frameworks to their setting. Finally, a KIE-oriented business process improvement framework is developed through an integrative adaptation of the concepts of knowledge intensity and knowledge management to the principles of business process redesign and re-engineering reported in existing literature. The proposed framework contributes to the existing literature in the subject of BPI modelling for knowledge intensive entrepreneurial ventures by addressing a distinct set of improvement concerns that this type of organisations face at a process level.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Adamides, E., & Karacapilidis, N. (2006). A knowledge centred framework for collaborative business process modelling. Business Process Management Journal, 12(5), 557–575.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Adesola, S., & Baines, T. (2005). Developing and evaluating a methodology for business process improvement. Business Process Management Journal, 11(1), 37–46.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alvesson, M. (1993). Organizations as rhetoric: Knowledge-intensive firms and the struggle with ambiguity. Journal of Management Studies, 30(6), 997–1015.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alvesson, M. (2001). Knowledge work: Ambiguity, image and identity. Human Relations, 54(7), 863–886.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ates, A., & Bitici, U. (2011). Change process: A key enabler for building resilient SMEs. International Journal of Production Research, 18(15), 5601–5618.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baptista Nunes, M., Annansingh, F., Wakefield, R., & Eaglestone, B. (2006). Knowledge management issues in knowledge-intensive SMEs. Journal of Documentation, 62(1), 101–119.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bodas Freitas, I. M., Geuna, A., & Rossi, F. (2013). Finding the right partners: Institutional and personal modes of governance of university–industry interactions. Research Policy, 42(1), 50–62.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bottani, E. (2010). Profile and enablers of agile companies: An empirical investigation. International Journal of Production Economics, 125(2), 251–261.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brinkley, I. (2006) Defining the knowledge economy (online). http://www.theworkfoundation.com/assets/docs/publications/65_defining%20knowledge%20economy.pdf. 4 October 2015.

  • Burt, R. S. (1997). The contingent value of social capital. Administrative Science Quarterly, 42, 339–365.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Busenitz, L. W., & Barney, J. B. (1997). Differences between entrepreneurs and managers in large organizations: Biases and heuristics in strategic decision-making. Journal of Business Venturing, 12(1), 9–30.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Campos, E. B., & Sanchez, M. P. S. (2003). Knowledge management in the emerging strategic business process: Information, complexity and imagination. Journal of Knowledge Management, 7(2), 5–17.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Carayannis, E. G., Sindakis, S., & Walter, C. (2015). Business model innovation as lever of organizational sustainability. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 40(1), 85–104.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chesbrough, W. H. (2003). The era of open innovation. MIT Sloan Management Review, 44(3), 35–42.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chesbrough, W. H. (2007). Why companies should have open business models? MIT Sloan Management Review, 48(2), 22–28.

    Google Scholar 

  • Coombs, R., & Metcalfe, J. S. (2000). Organizing for innovation: Coordinating distributed innovation capabilities. In N. Foss & V. Mahnke (Eds.), Governance and entrepreneurship. Advances in economic strategy research competence (pp. 209–231). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Covin, J. G., & Slevin, D. P. (1988). The influence of organization structure on the utility of an entrepreneurial top management style. Journal of Management Studies, 25(3), 217–234.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Covin, J. G., & Slevin, D. P. (1989). Strategic management of small firms in hostile and benign environments. Strategic Management Journal, 10(1), 75–87.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Curado, C., & Bontis, N. (2006). The knowledge-based view of the firm and its theoretical precursor. International Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital, 3(4), 367–381.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dalmaris, P., Tsui, E., Hall, B., & Smith, B. (2007). A framework for the improvement of knowledge-intensive business processes. Business Process Management Journal, 13(2), 279–305.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • De Fuentes, C., & Dutrenit, G. (2012). Best channels of academia–industry interaction for long-term benefit. Research Policy, 41(9), 1666–1682.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ginsberg, A. (1988). Measuring and modelling changes in strategy: Theoretical foundations and empirical directions. Strategic Management Journal, 9(6), 559–575.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Groen, A. J. (2005). Knowledge intesive entrepreneurship in networks: Towards a multi-level/multi dimensional approach. Journal of Enterprising Culture, 13(01), 69–88.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gubbins, C., Corrigan, S., Garavan, T., O’Connor, C., Leahy, D., Long, D., et al. (2012). Evaluating a tacit knowledge sharing initiative: A case study. European Journal of Training and Development, 36(8), 827–847.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hagedoorn, J. (1993). Understanding the rationale of strategic technology partnering: Interorganizational modes of cooperation and sectoral difference. Strategic Management Journal, 14(5), 371–385.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hite, J. M. (2005). Evolutionary processes and paths of relationally embedded network ties in emerging entrepreneurial firms. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 29(1), 113–144.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Holsapple, C. W., & Joshi, K. D. (2002). A collaborative approach to ontology design. Communications of the ACM, 45(2), 42–47.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Humphrey, J., & Schmitz, H. (2008). Inter-firm relationships in global value chains: Trends in chain governance and their policy implications. International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, 1(3), 258–282.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Isik, O., Mertens, W., & Van den Bergh, J. (2013). Practices of knowledge intensive process management: Quantitative insights. Business Process Management Journal, 19(3), 515–534.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jochem, R., Geers, D., & Heinze, P. (2011). Maturity measurement of knowledge-intensive business processes. The TQM Journal, 23(4), 377–387.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kalpic, B., & Bernus, P. (2006). Business process modelling through the knowledge management perspective. Journal of Knowledge Management, 10(3), 40–56.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kang, S. P. (2015). Change management: Term confusion and new classifications. Performance Improvement, 54(3), 26–32.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Käpylä, J., Laihonen, H., Lönnqvist, A., & Carlucci, D. (2011). Knowledge-intensity as an organisational characteristic. Knowledge Management Research & Practice, 9(4), 315–326.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kärreman, D. (2010). The power of knowledge: Learning from “Learning by Knowledge-Intensive Firm”. Journal of Management Studies, 47(7), 1405–1416.

    Google Scholar 

  • Khan, Z., Bali, R., & Wickramasinghe, N. (2007). Developing a BPI framework and PAM for SMEs. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 107(3), 345–360.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lumpkin, G. T., & Dess, G. G. (1996). Clarifying the entrepreneurial orientation construct and linking it to performance. Academy of Management Review, 21(1), 135–172.

    Google Scholar 

  • Madsen, H., Neergaard, H., & Ulhoi, J. P. (2003). Knowledge-intensive entrepreneurship and human capital. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 10(4), 426–434.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Malerba, F. (2010). Knowledge-intensive entrepreneurship and innovation systems in Europe. In F. Malerba (Ed.), Knowledge-intensive entrepreneurship and innovation systems. Oxon: Evidence from Europe.

    Google Scholar 

  • Malerba, F., & McKelvey, M. (2016). Conceptualizing knowledge intensive entrepreneurship: Definition and model. In F. Malerba, Y. Caloghirou, M. McKelvey, & S. Radosevic (Eds.), Dynamics of knowledge intensive entrepreneurship (pp. 19–47). Abingdon: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Marajanovic, O., & Freeze, R. (2012). Knowledge-intensive business process: Deriving a sustainable competitive advantage through business process management and knowledge management integration. Knowledge and Process Management, 19(4), 180–188.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Miller, D. (1983). The correlates of entrepreneurship in three types of firms. Management Science, 29(7), 770–791.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Moreno, A. M., & Casillas, J. C. (2008). Entrepreneurial orientation and growth of SMES: A causal model. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 32(3), 507–528.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Muller, E., & Doloreux, D. (2009). What we should know about knowledge-intensive business services. Technology in Society, 31(1), 64–72.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Muller, E., & Zenker, A. (2001). Business services as actors of knowledge transformation: The role of KIBS in regional and national innovation systems. Research Policy, 30(9), 1501–1516.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nahapiet, J., & Ghoshal, S. (1998). Social capital, intellectual capital, and the organizational advantage. Academy of Management Review, 23, 242–266.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nummela, N., Puumalainen, K., & Saarenketo, S. (2005). International growth orientation of knowledge-intensive SMES. Journal of International Entrepreneurship, 3(1), 5–18.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Papavassiliou, G., & Mentzas, G. (2003). Knowledge modelling in weakly-structured business processes. Journal of Knowledge Management, 7(2), 18–33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Penrose, E. (1995). Theory of growth of the firm (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Radosevic, S., & Yoruk, E. (2012) SAPPHO revisited: Factors of innovation success in knowledge-intensive enterprises in Central and Eastern Europe. DRUID Working Paper 12 (11).

  • Radosevic, S., & Yoruk, E. (2015). Strategies for knowledge-based entrepreneurship in Central and Eastern European economies. In F. By Malerba, Y. Caloghirou, M. McKelvey, & S. Radosevic (Eds.), Dynamics of knowledge-intensive entrepreneurship: Business strategy and public policy (pp. 327–368). Abingdon: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ranjbarfard, M., Aghdasi, M., Albadvi, A., & Hassanzadeh, M. (2012). Identifying knowledge management problems using a process-based method. Business Process Management Journal, 19(2), 263–291.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rylander, A., & Peppard, J. (2005). What really is a knowledge-intensive firm. Stockholm: Royal Institute of Technology.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sabau, G. L. (2010). Know, live and let live: Towards a redefinition of the knowledge-based economy—Sustainable development nexus. Ecological Economics, 69(6), 1193–1201.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schumpeter, J. A. (1934). The theory of economic development. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Seethamraju, R., & Marjanovic, O. (2009). Role of process knowledge in business process improvement methodology: A case study. Business Process Management Journal, 15(6), 920–936.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shane, S. (2000). Prior knowledge and the discovery of entrepreneurial opportunities. Organization Science, 11(4), 448–469.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Siha, S., & Saad, G. (2008). Business process improvement: Empirical assessment and extensions. Business Process Management Journal, 14(6), 778–802.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Starbuck, W. H. (1992). Learning by knowledge-intensive firms. Journal of Management Studies, 29(6), 713–740.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ucbasaran, D., Westhead, P., & Wright, M. (2008). Opportunity identification and pursuit: Does an entrepreneur’s human capital matter? Small Business Economics, 30, 153–173.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Unger, M., Leopold, H., & Mendling, J. How much flexibility is good for knowledge intensive business processes: A study of the effects of informal work practices. In 2015 48th Hawaii international conference on system sciences (HICSS) (pp. 4990–4999). IEEE.

  • van de Vrande, V., de Jong, J. P. J., Vanhaverbeke, W., & de Rochemont, M. (2009). Open innovation in SMEs: Trends, motives and management challenges. Technovation, 29, 423–437.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • von Hippel, E. (1986). Lead users: A source of novel product concepts. Management Science, 32(7), 791–805.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Von Hippel, E. (1988). Sources of innovation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • von Nordenflycht, A. (2010). What is a professional service firm? Toward a theory and taxonomy of knowledge-intensive firms. Academy of Management Review, 35(1), 155–174.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Williamson, O. E. (1999). Strategy research: Governance and competence perspectives. Strategic Management Journal, 20, 1087–1108.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wolff, J., & Pett, T. (2006). Small-firm performance: Modelling the role of product and process improvements. Journal of Small Business Management, 44(2), 268–284.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wright, S., Bisson, C., & Duffy, A. (2013). Competitive intelligence and information technology adoption of SMEs in Turkey: Diagnosing current performance and identifying barriers. Journal of Intelligence Studies in Business, 2(1), 5–29.

    Google Scholar 

  • Yoo, K., Suh, E., & Kim, K. Y. (2007). Knowledge flow-based business process redesign: Applying a knowledge map to redesign a business process. Journal of Knowledge Management, 11(3), 104–125.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zellner, G. (2012). Towards a framework for identifying business process redesign patterns. Business Process Management Journal, 19(4), 600–623.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mark P. Sallos.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Sallos, M.P., Yoruk, E. & García-Pérez, A. A business process improvement framework for knowledge-intensive entrepreneurial ventures. J Technol Transf 42, 354–373 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10961-016-9534-z

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10961-016-9534-z

Keywords

JEL classification

Navigation