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Artifacts in knowledge management research: a systematic literature review and future research directions

Stefania Mariano (Institute for Knowledge and Innovation – Southeast Asia (IKI-SEA), Bangkok University, Bangkok, Thailand)
Yukika Awazu (Institute for Knowledge and Innovation – Southeast Asia (IKI-SEA), Bangkok University, Bangkok, Thailand)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 10 October 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess the role of artifacts in the knowledge management field in the past 18 years (1997-2015) and to identify directions for future research.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted a systematic literature review of 101 articles published in seven journals retrieved from EBSCO and Google Scholar online research databases. The framework for analysis included 13 codes, i.e. author(s), title, year of publication, typology, theoretical lens, categorizations, methods for empirical work, relevancy, level of analysis, keywords, findings, research themes and future research directions. Codes were analyzed using qualitative and quantitative methods.

Findings

The findings lacked cumulativeness and consistency in the current knowledge management debate. Empirical works outnumbered conceptual contributions by two to one, and the majority of papers focused at the organizational level of analysis. Knowledge management systems, knowledge sharing and digital archives were the major research themes connected to artifacts, together with other closely aligned concepts such as learning and online learning, knowledge transfer and knowledge creation.

Research limitations/implications

This study has temporal and contextual limitations related to covered time span (18 years) and journals’ subscription restrictions.

Originality/value

This paper is a first attempt to systematically review the role of artifacts in knowledge management research and therefore it represents a primary reference in the knowledge management field. It provides directions to future theoretical and empirical studies and suggestions to managerial practices.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Wimonrat Worawichayavongsa (Newie) and Kittikom Plongniras (Tle) for their assistance during the data analysis process.

Citation

Mariano, S. and Awazu, Y. (2016), "Artifacts in knowledge management research: a systematic literature review and future research directions", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 20 No. 6, pp. 1333-1352. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-05-2016-0199

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited