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Knowledge management in the firm: concepts and issues

Palle Rasmussen (Department of Learning and Philosophy, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark)
Peter Nielsen (Department of Political Science, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 16 August 2011




The purpose of this paper is to set focus on, and discuss the concept of knowledge, and show how the interrelations between knowledge and other concepts, such as learning, have become a decisive element in managing human resources and firm performance.


The dimensions of knowledge management are identified and related to learning, organizational configurations, human resources management and institutional environments in order to identify and percent the most important approaches to knowledge management and the development over time.


Creating, transforming and utilizing various kinds of knowledge as a firm‐specific asset is a very important element of firm competitiveness and innovative performance. In managing knowledge learning and innovation learning approaches are central. The paper identifies various approaches to learning and strategies to innovation and illustrates how combinations of these might benefit firm performance. It also stresses the preconditions of employee involvement and participation to knowledge management and not least the importance of interaction with environmental resources. To improve performance firms should be aware of the importance of deliberately combining various approaches to innovation and learning in order to include a maximum of actors as sources in building knowledge assets and strategies.

Research limitations/implications

Most of the empirical examples are from private sector enterprises, even though the theoretical arguments should also be valid for the public sector.


The paper relates knowledge management to theoretical approaches on learning, organization and innovation and shows the growing importance of these constructs in firm performance.



Rasmussen, P. and Nielsen, P. (2011), "Knowledge management in the firm: concepts and issues", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 32 No. 5/6, pp. 479-493.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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