Advertisement

Knowledge Management Research & Practice

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 327–341 | Cite as

A model for assessing the coherence of companies’ knowledge strategy

  • Alberto F De Toni
  • Fabio NoninoEmail author
  • Matteo Pivetta
Article

Abstract

This paper proposes a strategic model for assessing the coherence between companies’ knowledge strategies and their business strategies as well as in their competitive and organisational contexts. In analysing knowledge management literature, we locate three principal strategies: (1) knowledge development (internal or external), (2) knowledge sharing (codification or personalisation) and (3) knowledge exploitation (internal or external). We then position the three strategies and six related policies in the context-content-process dimensions of Pettigrew's model to create a useful framework for strategic analysis and a model to assess the coherence of companies’ knowledge strategy. The model can be used to evaluate how an existing knowledge strategy aligns with a company's characteristics and to formulate and implement a coherent knowledge strategy based on the current competitive environment, organisational context and business strategy.

Keywords

knowledge strategy business strategy strategic model knowledge development knowledge sharing knowledge exploitation 

References

  1. Alavi M, Kayworth TR and Leidner DE (2006) An empirical examination of the influence of organizational culture on knowledge management practices. Journal of Management Information Systems 22 (3), 191–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alavi M and Leidner DE (2001) Review: knowledge managament and knowledge management systems: conceptual foundations and research. MIS Quarterly 25 (1), 107–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Amit R and Schoemaker P (1993) Strategic assets and organizational rent. The Resource Based View of the Firm 14 (1), 33–46.Google Scholar
  4. Argote L, McEvily B and Reagans R (2003) Managing knowledge in organizations: an integrative framework and review of emerging themes. Management Science 49 (4), 571–582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bain JS (1951) Relation of profit rate to industry concentration: American manufacturing 1936–1940. The Quarterly Journal of Economics 65 (3), 293–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bain JS (1954) Economies of scale, concentration, and the condition of entry in twenty manufacturing industries. American Economic Review 44 (1), 15–39.Google Scholar
  7. Barney JB (1991) Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management 17 (1), 99–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Beckett AJ, Wainwright C and Bance D (2000) Knowledge management: strategy or software? Management Decision 38 (9), 601–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bierly PE and Chakrabarti A (1996) Generic knowledge strategies in the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. Strategic Management Journal 17 (Winter Special Issue), 123–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bierly PE and Daly PS (2002) Aligning human resource management practices and knowledge strategies. In The Strategic Management of Intellectual Capital and Organizational Knowledge (CHOO CW and BONTIS N, Eds), pp 268–276, Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Bierly PE and Daly PS (2007) Alternative knowledge strategy competitive environment and organizational performance in small manufacturing firms. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice 31 (4), 493–516.Google Scholar
  12. Bou-Llusar JC and Segarra-Cipres M (2006) Strategic knowledge transfer and its implications for competitive advantage: an integrative conceptual framework. Journal of Knowledge Management 10 (4), 100–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brachos D, Kostopoulos K, Soderquist KE and Prastacos G (2007) Knowledge effectiveness social context and innovation. Journal of Knowledge Management 11 (5), 31–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chen CJ and Lin BW (2004) The effects of environment knowledge attribute organizational climate and firm characteristics on knowledge sourcing decisions. R&D Management 34 (2), 137–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chesbrough HW (2003) The era of open innovation. MIT Sloan Management Review 44 (3), 35–41.Google Scholar
  16. Chesbrough HW and Teece DJ (1996) Organizing for innovation: when is virtual virtuous? Harvard Business Review 74 (1), 65–73.Google Scholar
  17. Choi B and Lee H (2003) An empirical investigation of KM styles and their effect on corporate performance. Information & Management 40 (5), 403–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Choi B, Poon SK and Davis JG (2008) Effects of knowledge management strategy on organizational performance: a complementarity theory-based approach. Omega – The international Journal of Management Science 36 (2), 235–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cohen D (1998) Toward a knowledge context: report on the first annual U.C. Berkeley forum on knowledge and the firm. California Management Review 40 (3), 22–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cohen WM and Levinthal DA (1990) Absorptive capacity: a new perspective on learning and innovation. Administrative Science Quarterly 35 (1), 128–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Cole RE (1998) Introduction. California Management Review 45 (3), 15–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. De Toni AF and Nonino F (2010) The key roles in the informal organization: a network analysis perspective. The Learning Organization 17 (1), 86–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. De Toni AF and Tonchia S (2002) New production models: a strategic view. International Journal of Production Research 40 (18), 4721–4741.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dewett T and Jones GR (2001) The role of information tecnology in organization: a review model and assessment. Journal of Management 27 (3), 313–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. DiBella AJ, Nevis EC and Gould JM (1996) Understanding organizational learning capability. Journal of Management Studies 33 (3), 361–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Droge C, Claycomb C and Germain R (2003) Does knowledge mediate the effect of context on performance? Some initial evidence. Decision Sciences 34 (3), 541–568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Drucker PF (1993) Managing for the Future: The 1990s and Beyond. Penguin, New York.Google Scholar
  28. Dyer JH and Nobeoka K (2000) Creating and managing a high-performance knowledge-sharing network: the Toyota case. Strategic Management Journal 21 (3), 345–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Edvinsson L (1997) Developing intellectual capital at Skandia. Long Range Planning 30 (3), 366–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Edvinsson L and Malone MS (1997) Intellectual Capital: Realizing Your Company's True Value by Finding Its Hidden Roots. HarperCollins Publishers, New York.Google Scholar
  31. Goll I, Johnson NB and Rasheed AA (2007) Knowledge capability strategic change and firm performance. Management Decision 45 (2), 161–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gopalakrishnan S and Bierly PE (2006) The impact of firm size and age on knowledge strategies during product development: a study of the drug delivery industry. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management 53 (1), 3–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Grant RM (1991) The resource based theory of competitive advantage: implications for strategy formulation. California Management Review 33 (3), 114–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Grant RM (1996) Toward a knowledge-based theory of the firm. Strategic Management Journal 17 (Winter Special Issue), 109–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Grant RM and Baden-Fuller C (2004) A knowledge-accessing theory of strategic alliances. Journal of Management Studies 41 (1), 61–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Grant RM and Spender J (1996) Knowledge and the firm: an overview. Strategic Management Journal 17 (Winter Special Issue), 3–9.Google Scholar
  37. Greiner ME, Bohmann T and Krcmar H (2007) A strategy for knowledge management. Journal of Knowledge Management 11 (6), 3–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Halawi LA, McCarthy RV and Aronson JE (2006) Knowledge management and the competitive strategy of the firm. The Learning Organization 13 (4), 384–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hansen MT, Nohria N and Tierney T (1999) What's your strategy for managing knowledge? Harvard Business Review 77 (2), 106–116.Google Scholar
  40. Hayes RH, Wheelwright R and Clark KB (1988) Dynamic Manufacturing: Creating the Learning Organization. The Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
  41. Hult GTM, Ketchen DJ, Cavusgil ST and Calantone RJ (2006) Knowledge as a strategic resource in supply chains. Journal of Operations Management 24 (5), 458–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Jasimuddin SM, Klein JH and Connell C (2005) The paradox of using tacit and explicit knowledge strategies to face dilemmas. Management Decision 43 (1), 102–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lichtenthaler U (2007) Hierarchical strategy and strategic fit in the keep-or-sell decision. Management Decision 45 (3), 340–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lichtenthaler U (2008) Leveraging technology assets in the presence of markets knowledge. European Management Journal 26 (2), 122–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lindvall M, Rus I and Sinha SS (2003) Software systems support for knowledge management. Journal of Knowledge Management 7 (5), 137–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lucas LM and Ogilvie DT (2006) Things are not always what they seem. The Learning Organization 13 (1), 7–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Maier R and Remus U (2003) Implementing process-oriented knowledge management strategies. Journal of Knowledge Management 7 (4), 62–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. March JG (1991) Exploration and exploitation in organizational learning. Organization Science 2 (1), 71–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Mason ES (1959) Economic Concentration and the Monopoly Problem. Harvard University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  50. McGee J and Thomas H (1986) Strategic groups: theory research and taxonomy. Strategic Management Journal 7 (2), 141–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. McKenzie J and van Winkelen C (2004) Understanding the Knowledgeable Organization: Nurturing Knowledge Competence. Thomson, London.Google Scholar
  52. Merono Cerdan AL, Lopez Nicolas C and Sabater Sanchez R (2007) Knowledge management strategy diagnosis from KM instruments use. Journal of Knowledge Management 11 (2), 60–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Miles RE and Snow CC (1978) Organizational Strategy Structure and Process. Mc Graw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  54. Miller JG and Roth AV (1994) A taxonomy of manufacturing strategy. Management Science 40 (3), 285–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Mintzberg H (1994) The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New York.Google Scholar
  56. Nevis EC, DiBella AJ and Gould JM (1995) Understanding organizations as learning systems. Sloan Management Review 36 (2), 73–85.Google Scholar
  57. Nonaka I (1994) A dynamic theory of organizational knowledge creation. Organization Science 5, 14–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Nonaka I and Takeuchi H (1995) The Knowledge-Creating company: How Japanese Companies Create Dynamics of Innovation. Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  59. Nonaka I, Umemoto K and Senoo D (1996) From information processing to knowledge creation: a paradigm shift in business management. Technology in Society 18 (2), 203–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Oxford English Dictionary (2008) http://www.oed.com (accessed 14 August 2011).
  61. Pai DC (2005) Knowledge strategy in Taiwan's IC design firms. The Journal of American Academy of Business 7 (2), 73–77.Google Scholar
  62. Penrose ET (1959) The Theory of the Growth of the Firm. Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  63. Pettigrew AM (1985) Contextualist research: a natural way to link theory and practice. In Doing Research that is Useful in Theory and Practice (LAWLER E, MOHRMAN AM, MOHRMAN SA, LEDFORD G and CUMMINGS TG, Eds), pp 222–248, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  64. Pettigrew AM (1988) The Management of Strategic Change. Blackwell, Oxford.Google Scholar
  65. Pettigrew AM (1992) The character and significance of strategy process research. Strategic Management Journal 13 (Special Issue), 5–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Pettigrew AM and Whipp R (1991) Managing Change for Competitive Success. Blackwell, Oxford.Google Scholar
  67. Polanyi M (1967) The Tacit Dimension. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London.Google Scholar
  68. Porter ME (1980) Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors. Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
  69. Porter ME (1985) Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance. Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
  70. Quintas P, Lefree P and Jones G (1997) Knowledge management: a strategic agenda. Long Range Planning 30 (3), 385–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Real JC, Leal A and Rolda JL (2006) Information technology as a determinant of organizational learning and technological distinctive competencies. Industrial Marketing Management 35 (4), 505–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Riege A (2005) Three-dozen knowledge-sharing barriers managers must consider. Journal of Knowledge Management 9 (3), 18–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Rodriguez-Elias OM, Martinez-Garcia AI, Vizcaino A, Favela J and Piattini M (2008) A framework to analyze information systems as knowledge flow facilitators. Information and Software Technology 50 (6), 481–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Roos G and Roos J (1997) Measuring your company's intellectual performance. Long Range Planning 30 (3), 413–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Roos G, Roos J, Dragonetti N and Edvinsson L (1997) Intellectual Capital: Navigating in the New Business Landscape. Macmillan, Basingstoke.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Scheepers R, Venkitachalam K and Gibbs MR (2004) Knowledge strategy in organization: Refining the model of Hansen Nohria Tierney. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems 13 (3), 201–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Schulz M and Jobe L (2001) Codification and tacitness as knowledge management strategies: an empirical exploration. Journal of High Technology Management Research 12 (1), 139–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Smith KG (2004) Knowledge management strategy: a multi-case study. Journal of Knowledge Management 8 (3), 6–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Smith KG, Collins CJ and Clark KD (2005) Existing knowledge creation capability and the rate of new product introduction in high-technology firms. Academy of Management Journal 48 (2), 346–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Spender JC (1996a) Making knowledge the basis of a dynamic theory of the firm. Strategic Management Journal 17 (Winter Special Issue), 45–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Spender JC (1996b) Organizational knowledge learning and memory: three concepts in search of a theory. Journal of Organizational Change Management 9 (1), 63–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Stigler GJ (1961) The economics of information. Journal of Political Economy 69 (3), 213–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Sveiby KE (1997) The intangible assets monitor. Journal of Human Resource Costing & Accounting 2 (1), 73–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Thornill S (2006) Knowledge innovation and firm performance in high and low technology regimes. Journal of Business Venturing 21 (5), 687–703.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Tsui E (2002) Technologies for personal and peer-to-peer (P2P) knowledge management. [WWW document] http://www.citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.84.9689 (accessed 20 October 2011).
  86. Waltz E (2003) Knowledge Management in the Intelligence Enterprise. Artech House, London.Google Scholar
  87. Wang ETG (2001) Linking organizational context with structure: a preliminary investigation of the information processing review. Omega – The international Journal of Management Science 29 (5), 429–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Ward PT and Duray R (2000) Manufacturing strategy in context: environment competitive strategy and manufacturing strategy. Journal of Operations Management 18 (2), 123–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Watson S and Hewett K (2006) A multi-theoretical model of knowledge transfer in organizations: determinants of knowledge contribution and knowledge reuse. Journal of Management Studies 43 (2), 141–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Wernerfelt B (1984) A resource based view of the firm. Strategic Management Journal 5 (2), 171–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Wijnhoven F (2003) Operational knowledge management: identification of knowledge objects operation methods and goals and means for the support function. Journal of the Operational Research Society 54 (2), 194–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Wu W and Lee Y (2007) Selecting knowledge management strategies by using the analytic network process. Expert Systems with Applications: An International Journal 32 (3), 841–847.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Zack MH (1999) Developing a knowledge strategy. California Management Review 41 (3), 125–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Zack MH (2005) The strategic advantage of knowledge and learning. International Journal of learning and Intellectual Capital 2 (1), 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Zahra SA and George G (2002) Absortive capacity: a review reconceptualization and extension. Academy of Management Review 27 (2), 185–203.Google Scholar
  96. Zárraga C and Bonache J (2005) The impact of team atmosphere on knowledge outcomes in self managed teams. Organization Studies 26 (5), 661–681.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Operational Research Society 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alberto F De Toni
    • 1
  • Fabio Nonino
    • 2
    Email author
  • Matteo Pivetta
    • 3
  1. 1.University of UdineUdineItaly
  2. 2.Department of ComputerControl and Management Engineering, ‘Antonio Ruberti’ Sapienza University of RomeRomaItaly
  3. 3.Fair Play Consulting SrlPadovaItaly

Personalised recommendations