Purpose – The specific challenges which small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) face lead to a special knowledge management system with harmonised methods and supporting software tools. This paper seeks to address this issue. Design/methodology/approach – A theoretical framework is proposed as a layer concept to describe the special situation of knowledge management in SMEs. Based on this framework empirical studies were conducted in German‐speaking countries to find out the relevant methods and tools supporting knowledge management in SMEs. Findings – The outcome of the empirical study describes methods of knowledge management supporting the four key knowledge processes in SMEs, i.e. knowledge identification, knowledge acquisition, knowledge distribution and knowledge preservation. The results are explained in the developed “TechnicalSocialSocialTechnical Model” (TSST Model), which is a balanced system for technical and social knowledge applications. Research limitations/implications – The empirical study presented provides a model for knowledge management support in SMEs in German‐speaking countries. Further research will expand the empirical data on an international focus. Originality/value – The developed TSST Model is currently used for the implementation of knowledge management systems in Austrian SMEs. The developed TSST Model functions as a decision support framework for SMEs to select technical and social knowledge methods according to the corresponding knowledge processes.
Journal of Enterprise Information Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 13, 2009
Keywords: Knowledge management; Knowledge management systems; Knowledge processes; Small to medium‐sized enterprises
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