Entrepreneurship, Competitiveness and Local Development
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Entrepreneurship, Competitiveness and Local Development

Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research

Edited by Luca Iandoli, Hans Landström and Mario Raffa

This book draws together leading academics to provide a state-of-the-art overview of the key challenges to entrepreneurship in Europe.
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Chapter 8: Organization Context and Knowledge Management in SMEs: A Study of Dutch Technology-based Firms

Lorraine Uhlaner and Jerry van Santen


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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