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A comprehensive analysis of knowledge management in Indian manufacturing companies

S.D. Uma Mageswari (Department of Management Studies, RMK Engineering College , Chennai, India)
R. Chitra Sivasubramanian (Department of Management Studies, Pondicherry University School of Management , Pondicherry, India)
T.N. Srikantha Dath ( M.S. Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences , Bengaluru, India)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Article publication date: 2 May 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to ascertain the current status of knowledge management (KM) adoption in the Indian manufacturing organizations and to develop a comprehensive research model to investigate the impact of enabling conditions for KM and the impact of KM on organizational performance through structural equation modelling.

Design/methodology/approach

A descriptive research design is adopted and primary data are collected through structured questionnaire. In total, 251 responses were obtained from the top- and middle-level managers and the structural relationships in the research model were tested using the partial least squares method.

Findings

The results revealed a moderate adoption of KM by the manufacturing companies. Also, a significant impact of the enablers on KM processes is observed. It is found that Indian manufacturing is operating in labour-intensive traditional methods and KM is still in its infancy. The impact of KM on the performance is moderate and contradicting the extant literature, the impact of KM on innovation is found to be weak.

Research limitations/implications

The study is carried out in companies located in India and hence generalizing the findings should be done with caution. The sample is dominated by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which may have implications for the findings.

Practical implications

As manufacturing companies in the developing countries such as India experience a greater competition in the globalized economy, adoption of KM will perk up the performance of the organizations. Practicing managers need to create a culture that facilitates KM adoption. Policy makers shall support SMEs in technology adoption, R&D, skill development and so on.

Originality/value

Previous KM studies in India are fragmented and analysed KM processes and KM enablers in isolation. Also, the holistic studies on KM literature focussed only on one or two facets of KM. A study which investigates the interactions between KM enablers, KM processes and organizational performance and innovation is scarce. The scarcity of empirical studies on KM and a dearth of understanding of the KM concept led to this maiden attempt to provide a comprehensive understanding of KM framework in the Indian manufacturing sector. A validated structured questionnaire for exploring KM practices in the Indian context is developed. Though the importance of the influence of external factors is theoretically emphasized, an empirical investigation is first of its kind.

Keywords

Citation

Uma Mageswari, S.D., Sivasubramanian, R.C. and Dath, T.N.S. (2017), "A comprehensive analysis of knowledge management in Indian manufacturing companies", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 506-530. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMTM-08-2016-0107

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited