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Knowledge management in knowledge‐intensive service networks: A strategic management approach

Heiner Evanschitzky (Marketing Center Münster (MCM), University of Münster, Münster, Germany)
Dieter Ahlert (Marketing Center Münster (MCM), University of Münster, Münster, Germany)
Günther Blaich (AWD Holding AG, Hannover, Germany)
Peter Kenning (Marketing Center Münster (MCM), University of Münster, Münster, Germany)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 13 March 2007

Abstract

Purpose

The main purpose of this paper is to analyze knowledge management in service networks. It analyzes the knowledge management process and identifies related challenges. The authors take a strategic management approach instead of a more technology‐oriented approach, since it is believed that managerial problems still remain after technological problems are solved.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper explores the literature on the topic of knowledge management as well as the resource (or knowledge) based view of the firm. It offers conceptual insights and provides possible solutions for knowledge management problems.

Findings

The paper discusses several possible solutions for managing knowledge processes in knowledge‐intensive service networks. Solutions for knowledge identification/generation, knowledge application, knowledge combination/transfer and supporting the evolution of tacit network knowledge include personal and technological aspects, as well as organizational and cultural elements.

Practical implications

In a complex environment, knowledge management and network management become crucial for business success. It is the task of network management to establish routines, and to build and regularly refresh meta‐knowledge about the competencies and abilities that exist within the network. It is suggested that each network partner should be rated according to the contribution to the network knowledge base. Based on this rating, a particular network partner is a member of a certain knowledge club, meaning that the partner has access to a particular level of network knowledge. Such an established routine provides strong incentives to add knowledge to the network's knowledge base

Originality/value

This paper is a first attempt to outline the problems of knowledge management in knowledge‐intensive service networks and, by so doing, to introduce strategic management reasoning to the discussion.

Keywords

Citation

Evanschitzky, H., Ahlert, D., Blaich, G. and Kenning, P. (2007), "Knowledge management in knowledge‐intensive service networks: A strategic management approach", Management Decision, Vol. 45 No. 2, pp. 265-283. https://doi.org/10.1108/00251740710727287

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited