Purpose – This study extends the viewpoint of “fit as holistic configurations” to explore how to use knowledge management (KM) processes and knowledge management system (KMS) capabilities appropriately according to the tasks characteristics subunits perform in an aerospace manufacturer. In this regard, the aim is to develop four theoretical ideal profiles of KM processes (socialization, externalization, combination, and internalization) and KMS capabilities (codification capability and network capability) for organizational subunits based on their task characteristics: focused, process‐oriented tasks; focused, content‐oriented tasks; broad, process‐oriented tasks; and focused, content‐oriented tasks. Design/methodology/approach – The empirical study was conducted at a knowledge intensive and engineering‐oriented aerospace company. Twelve functional subunits performing a variety of tasks were selected as the samples. The study employed qualitative and quantitative methods to understand the subunits' task attributes. The authors collected data from 12 subunits, and a total of 212 valid questionnaires were analyzed. PLS‐Graph was used to assess the relationships of the research model. Findings – The empirical support for the argument that the fit among KM processes, KMS capabilities and task characteristics can improve KM performance. Results reveal that fit significantly affects knowledge satisfaction, knowledge quality and creativity for subunits performing focused, process‐oriented and broad, process‐oriented tasks. Research limitations/implications – The findings reflect the fact that individuals within organizational subunits should use the four KM processes of appropriate levels to generate new knowledge to accomplish their tasks. Originality/value – The study uses a multidimensional and multi‐item approach to test the effect of factors on KM performance, and is the first to identify ideal profiles of KM process and KMS capability for different organizational subunits.
Journal of Knowledge Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 19, 2012
Keywords: Knowledge management performance; Knowledge management processes; Knowledge management system capabilities; Task characteristics; Fit; Knowledge economy; Knowledge transfer
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