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Title: The peculiarities of knowledge management processes in SMEs : the case of Singapore
Authors: Wee, Janet Chui Neo
Chua, Alton Yeow Kuan
Keywords: Social sciences::Communication
Issue Date: 2013
Source: Wee, J. C. N., & Chua, A. Y. K. (2013). The peculiarities of knowledge management processes in SMEs: the case of Singapore. Journal of Knowledge Management, 17(6), 958-972. doi:10.1108/JKM-04-2013-0163
Journal: Journal of Knowledge Management 
Abstract: Purpose The objectives of this study are two-fold. The first is to examine the peculiarities of KM processes that are unique in SMEs from three perspectives, namely knowledge creation, knowledge sharing and knowledge reuse. Secondly, to identify enablers and impediments of these KM processes that influence the competitiveness of SMEs. Design/methodology/approach The study adopted a case study approach involving 21 participants comprising management staff and front-line employees from four Singaporean SMEs. Findings The SME owner, rather than the employees, was found to be the key source and creator of knowledge and the sole driver of the KM processes. In SMEs, knowledge creation takes the form of innovative customized solutions to meet customers' needs; knowledge sharing occurs through cross functionality, overlapping roles, and facilitated by close physical proximity in open workspaces; and knowledge reuse is often made tacitly, where common knowledge is prevalently embedded within the KM processes of SMEs. The enablers of knowledge creation process rested largely on the owner's innovativeness, creativity and ability to acquire knowledge of the industry. Knowledge sharing processes are enabled by the awareness of roles, mutual respect and the level of trust among employees within the SME while knowledge reuse is fostered by close proximity of employees and the willingness and openness of the owner to impart his knowledge. The lack of the above enablement factors mentioned will hinder these KM processes. Research limitations/implications The study is limited by the fact that data was collected from four SMEs in Singapore. Furthermore, only a small sample of staff from these SMEs was interviewed. Hence the findings need to be interpreted in light of such a scope. Practical implications For SMEs, this research provides perspectives on the factors influencing KM processes, in particular, the importance of the owners' knowledge and leadership, the flexibility and adaptability of the organization, and open culture to enable the capitalization of its knowledge assets to survive and stay competitive. For practitioners, this paper reinforces the importance of the management owners' innovativeness, initiatives and support, and the level of social interaction and high level of trusts among employees in the SMEs to as enablers to effective KM processes in SMEs. Originality/value To deepen on-going knowledge management research on SMEs, this paper provides insights and rich context to the distinctness of KM processes in SMEs.
ISSN: 1367-3270
DOI: 10.1108/JKM-04-2013-0163
Rights: © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved. This paper was published in Journal of Knowledge Management and is made available with permission of Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:WKWSCI Journal Articles

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