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Towards a consensus knowledge management success definition

Murray E. Jennex (San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA)
Stefan Smolnik (European Business School (EBS), Reichartshausen, Germany)
David T. Croasdell (University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada, USA)


ISSN: 0305-5728

Article publication date: 19 June 2009




The purpose of this paper is to propose a definition of KMS success.


The paper uses a consensus‐building approach to derive the definition. An expert panel was used to generate a list of possible KM success definitions. A survey was used to identify a likely definition from this list. A second survey was used to further refine the proposed KM success definition. Finally, analysis of the survey comments was used to finalize the proposed definition.


KM success is a multidimensional concept. It is defined by capturing the right knowledge, getting the right knowledge to the right user, and using this knowledge to improve organizational and/or individual performance. KM success is measured by means of the dimensions: impact on business processes, impact on strategy, leadership, and knowledge content.

Research limitations/implications

An additional survey should be performed that tests the constructs of the proposed KM success definition. Additionally, future research should focus on identifying a set of measures that can be used to measure KM success and determining whether KM and KM System (KMS), success are the same or different constructs.

Practical implications

The proposed definition of KM success provides practitioners with four dimensions that can be used to construct organization‐specific measures for indicating when their KM initiative is successful.


This is important, as the literature, while providing much support for identifying KM critical success factors, does not provide a definition of when KM can be considered successful. Knowing when a KM initiative is successful is important for organizations and practitioners.



Jennex, M.E., Smolnik, S. and Croasdell, D.T. (2009), "Towards a consensus knowledge management success definition", VINE, Vol. 39 No. 2, pp. 174-188.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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