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Factors affecting the use of wiki to manage knowledge in a small company

Ettore Bolisani (Department of Management and Engineering, University of Padua, Vicenza, Italy)
Enrico Scarso (Department of Management and Engineering, University of Padua, Vicenza, Italy)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 9 May 2016




This paper intends to present and discuss the findings of a case study analysis of the adoption and use of a wiki system by a small enterprise that is intended as a tool for managing the knowledge needed to successfully perform its business activities. The study aims at contributing to the still insufficient research on the factors influencing the use of new Web 2.0 technologies in small organisations to support internal knowledge management.


The study combines a qualitative and quantitative approach. The main unit of analysis is the wiki system of a small company, particularly its implementation and usage by the company’s employees. Relevant information about the wiki was collected through six interviews to different company members, and by means of an online survey submitted to almost all employees. Interviews involved the CEO of the company, the system developers and two typical users. The survey was made through a questionnaire of 19 questions online administered by means of a popular free-access online poll website (


Through the reconstruction of the history of the system, the study allowed to understand how the wiki has been introduced and is effectively used inside the case company. The findings of the study highlight that the wiki technology, being light and user-friendly, can be particularly suited for small companies. At the same time, they reveal that the successful implementation of such a system is not a spontaneous and automatic result, but requires a resolute support by top management, a good motivation of participating employees and a clear definition of purposes and ways of use.

Practical implications

The findings of the study contribute both to the academic research, by making available to scholars further empirical evidence about the use of Web 2.0 technologies in small organisations, and to the practice, by providing some guidelines to managers of small companies who are attempting to adopt and use wikis to effectively manage their knowledge assets.


The paper contributes to the limited research about the adoption and use of wikis as knowledge management system, both in general and in the particular case of a SME. Furthermore, by investigating the behaviours and opinions of individual knowledge workers, it takes into account a perspective that the literature has so far neglected.



This paper contributes to the Ateneo 2012 Project “Developing organizational ambidexterity to foster the competitiveness of the Italian machinery industry” (funded by the University of Padova).


Bolisani, E. and Scarso, E. (2016), "Factors affecting the use of wiki to manage knowledge in a small company", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 423-443.



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Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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