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Organizational factors and process capabilities in a KM strategy: toward a unified theory

Naser Valaei (Department of Marketing, Sunway University Business School, Sunway University, Bandar Sunway, Malaysia)
S.R. Nikhashemi (Department of Marketing, Sunway University Business School, Sunway University, Bandar Sunway, Malaysia)
Nariman Javan (Bucharest Business School, The Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 8 May 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of knowledge management (KM) enablers on KM activities in the context of Malaysian small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The effects of organizational culture, transformational leadership, organizational structure, and technology utilization as infrastructural KM enablers are examined on KM activities as knowledge acquisition, knowledge conversion, application, and protection.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 227 responses from SMEs’ top management are used to assess the measurement and structural models applying partial least squares-structural equation modeling.

Findings

The results show that technology utilization and organizational structure are two main factors in KM activities (all structural relationships are supported). Surprisingly, organizational culture is only associated with knowledge conversion and protection and the findings indicate no relationships between organizational culture and knowledge acquisition and application. The results also indicate a positive relationship between transformational leadership and knowledge acquisition and the hypotheses on the association between transformational leadership and knowledge conversion, application, and protection are rejected.

Practical implications

The results of importance-performance map analysis (IPMA) imply that technology utilization has the highest importance on knowledge acquisition, conversion, and protection while organizational structure has the highest importance on knowledge application. The results of IPMA also show that organizational culture has the highest performance on all KM activities.

Originality/value

This study is amongst the few that examines the structural relationships between organizational factors and KM activities in a SME context.

Keywords

Citation

Valaei, N., Nikhashemi, S.R. and Javan, N. (2017), "Organizational factors and process capabilities in a KM strategy: toward a unified theory", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 560-580. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMD-04-2016-0057

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited