Knowledge management in SMEs: a literature review

Susanne Durst (Institute for Entrepreneurship, University of Liechtenstein, Vaduz, Principality of Liechtenstein)
Ingi Runar Edvardsson (School of Business, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Publication date: 19 October 2012



The aim of this paper is to review research on knowledge management in small and medium‐sized enterprises to identify gaps in the current body of knowledge, which justify future research directions.


The study consists of a systematic review of 36‐refereed empirical articles on knowledge management and small and medium‐sized enterprises.


The areas of knowledge management implementation, knowledge management perception, and knowledge transfer are relatively well researched topics; whereas those of knowledge identification, knowledge storage/retention and knowledge utilisation are poorly understood. Given the prevalence of small and medium‐sized enterprises there is a strong need for more research on this important topic. The future research directions proposed by the authors may help to develop a greater understanding of knowledge management in small and medium‐sized enterprises.

Research limitations/implications

By only using the ProQuest database this study may not have allowed a complete coverage of all empirical articles in the field of knowledge management in small and medium‐sized enterprises. Yet, it is believed that the findings provide a valuable understanding of the current situation in this research field. The study proposes a number of future research directions, which may stimulate more intensive research in this important field.


To the best of the authors' knowledge, no systematic literature review on this topic has previously been published in academic journals.



Susanne Durst and Ingi Runar Edvardsson (2012) "Knowledge management in SMEs: a literature review", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 16 No. 6, pp. 879-903

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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