Handbook of Research on Knowledge Management
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Handbook of Research on Knowledge Management

Adaptation and Context

Edited by Anders Örtenblad

This innovative Handbook aims to examine whether there is a need to adapt and widen our understanding of knowledge management. A common definition of knowledge management is taken as the starting point for discussions on its relevance in various contexts, such as Buddhist organizations, law firms, the army and indigenous organizations. Moreover, the universality of Ikujiro Nonaka’s ideas on knowledge management is explored, and some alternative definitions are suggested. This book will appeal to academics and students of business and management, business administration, sociology and organizational behavior. Practitioners, managers and business-owners will also find this an invaluable resource.
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Chapter 4: Knowledge management in law firms

Cathrine Filstad and Petter Gottschalk


As law firms worldwide constantly strive for competitive advantage, major approaches and tools in pursuing their objectives are knowledge management and information technology. The attention for a knowledge-based perspective on organizations has led to much scientific as well as practical interest in organizing firms with the help of knowledge management. As argued by Sastrowardoyo and Metcalfe (2006), the importance of knowledge to organizations has been extensively established in the business and management literature as being the basis of future sustainable competitive advantage. Knowledge is the stock in trade for law firms and other professional service firms. This chapter applies the knowledge-based view of the firm as its main theoretical perspective (Dibbern et al. 2008). The knowledge-based view is part of the resource-based view of the firm, which views the firm as a collection of productive resources. The knowledge-based view considers knowledge as the critical input in the production of legal services in the law firm. Knowledge is the primary source of value of the firm. Based on the assumption of bounded rationality, this view assumes that individuals will never possess identical stocks of knowledge. Since each firm has its unique set of human resources in terms of lawyers as knowledge workers, there will always be knowledge asymmetries between law firms (Dibbern et al. 2008). Knowledge management (KM) is introduced to help companies create, share and use knowledge effectively.

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