The Open UniversitySkip to content

Do SMEs do knowledge management? Or simply manage what they know?

Hutchinson, Vicky and Quintas, Paul (2008). Do SMEs do knowledge management? Or simply manage what they know? International Small Business Journal, 26(2) pp. 131–154.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Recent studies of knowledge management indicate that the growth of interest in this area is primarily focused on the larger organization. Not only do large firms feature in the majority of published case studies but also their employees are regular contributors to conference proceedings.This article addresses the comparatively under-researched issue of knowledge and its management in small businesses. Looking beyond formal Knowledge Management (KM) initiatives and structures, emphasis is placed upon the importance of informal knowledge processes.Two related propositions are made: first, knowledge is managed by organizations without use of the language and concepts of KM and accompanying formal KM structures, and that this behaviour might uncontroversially be called `informal' knowledge management, and secondly, small firms are more likely to adopt such informal processes to manage knowledge.These propositions are explored within the context of small firms and the research revealed that small firms do indeed manage knowledge informally as part of their normal activities, without the use of the terminology and concepts of KM. However, contrary to expectations, on occasion some also engage in formal KM.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2008 Sage Publications
ISSN: 0266-2426
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetDTI (former Department of Trade and Industry)
Keywords: formal KM; informal knowledge management; SMEs
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)
Research Group: Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
Item ID: 27902
Depositing User: Paul Quintas
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2011 11:36
Last Modified: 02 May 2018 13:27
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU