Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research
Edited by Luca Iandoli, Hans Landström and Mario Raffa
Chapter 8: Organization Context and Knowledge Management in SMEs: A Study of Dutch Technology-based Firms
8. Organization context and knowledge management in SMEs: a study of Dutch technology-based ﬁrms Lorraine Uhlaner and Jerry van Santen INTRODUCTION Policy makers and analysts alike have come to the growing consensus that the future strength of ‘developed’ Western economies depends increasingly upon an eﬀective knowledge-based economy. In the initial decades of the information and communication technology (ICT) revolution (that is, in the 1970s and 1980s) its major impact was to stimulate entrepreneurship; scale and largeness were no longer required in many sectors to deliver complex products and services (Audretsch and Thurik, 2001, 2004). However, in the second wave of ICT development, with its proliferation into less-developed economies, entrepreneurs themselves, especially those located in geographic regions with high labour and operating costs, are under pressure to shift production to lower-cost regions and/or to change focus to more knowledge-based activities. Both these related trends, that is, internationalization of competition, and proliferation of explicit knowledge via ICT innovations, make conscious and top-quality knowledge management an increasingly critical factor in the competitive performance of both large and small ﬁrms. Perhaps more aptly referred to as knowledge strategy, knowledge management (KM) is a relatively new term that encompasses not only the related notions of knowledge transfer and knowledge sharing (externally from other ﬁrms to the small ﬁrm and/or internally among ﬁrm members), but also the entire knowledge acquisition and utilization process, beginning with locating and capturing knowledge (including tacit knowledge which is diﬃcult to codify), and followed by the enabling of that...
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