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Knowledge retention: minimizing organizational business loss

Moria Levy (CEO, ROM Knowledgeware, Reut, Israel)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 19 July 2011

Abstract

Purpose

Knowledge retention is becoming a main challenge in many countries, as knowledge becomes a main asset of organizations. The research questions the challenge of how can organizations minimize the loss of important knowledge while experiencing high levels of retiree? The research aims to suggest a framework for knowledge retention initiatives in organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

The research methodology is multi‐case research. The unit of analysis is organization (eight organizations analyzed, overall more than 30 retiree knowledge retention mini projects). Data linkage to the propositions and method of interpretation – explanation building technique.

Findings

This research suggests that successful knowledge retention can be achieved in three primary stages: defining scope; documenting (planning and implementation); and integrating knowledge back into the organization. Special care must be dedicated throughout the process to: retaining best practices and unexpected situations; structuring the process of knowledge retention; structuring retained documentation.

Research limitations/implications

Academic implications are two‐fold. First, it suggests that assessment projects, which estimate knowledge loss risk, and described in most academic researches, should be eliminated in knowledge retention models; second, research should continue, developing more models regarding detailed planning and implementation stages, as initiated in Hofer‐Alfeis DeLong and here. Further research should be conducted in order to discover how effective the suggested methods are in retrospect (after years, and not only after months).

Practical implications

Business implications do exist. The case studies described, using the proposed framework, show that knowledge retention is not only important, but also applicable. Structuring the process and results, as described above, may provide organizations with guidelines how to conduct such projects.

Originality/value

Its value is in changing the suggested known frameworks for knowledge retention, enabling more effective and efficient knowledge retention, and therefore less knowledge loss in organizations.

Keywords

Citation

Levy, M. (2011), "Knowledge retention: minimizing organizational business loss", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 582-600. https://doi.org/10.1108/13673271111151974

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited