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Critical types of knowledge loss in military organisations

Mukesh Kumar Singh (Delhi School of Management, Delhi Technological University, Delhi, India)
Vikas Gupta (Department of Management Studies, Delhi Technological University, Delhi, India)

VINE Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems

ISSN: 2059-5891

Article publication date: 17 June 2020

Issue publication date: 30 July 2021




Premature departure of highly skilled and experienced soldiers is detrimental to the excellence of a military organisation. The organisation can achieve knowledge superiority over adversaries, only if it acknowledges the organisation’s critical knowledge and undertakes necessary steps to preserve it. The purpose of this paper is to find out the critical types of knowledge loss in military organisations when a soldier departs.


This study uses grounded theory methodology with purposive/theoretical sampling of experts from the Indian Air Force, coding and constant comparative analysis to construct different knowledge categories. ATLAS.ti 8 was used for data coding and analysis.


This paper identifies eight types of knowledge categories in a military organisation and specifies the criticality of each category.

Research limitation/implication

This study has been piloted on a single organisation with a limited number of samples. However, the results can be used in future research on exploring generalisation. This study is unique in providing useful insights into the types of critical knowledge loss in a military organisation. Research infuses theoretical rigour to the knowledge management (KM) literature and provides impetus to study various aspects of KM in a military organisation.

Practical implication

This study provides the first set of guidelines for the leaders in military organisations to develop a KM strategy for knowledge loss. Research lists specific and actionable areas of knowledge for the commanders to act with considerable savings to exchequer, time and effort. The result could be reasonably generalised for other military setups in the world.


This paper is highly innovative and would significantly contribute to the under-explored area of KM in military organisations and the KM literature.



Singh, M.K. and Gupta, V. (2021), "Critical types of knowledge loss in military organisations", VINE Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems, Vol. 51 No. 4, pp. 618-635.



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