Influence of SME characteristics on knowledge management processes: The case study of enterprise resource planning service providers

Varintorn Supyuenyong, Nazrul Islam, Uday Kulkarni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Purpose - Much of the literature on knowledge management (KM) has focused on KM practices in large organisations where KM seems to encompass every KM process from capture of knowledge to its eventual reuse. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) practise KM processes to a lesser degree or differently owing to their special characteristics and limitations. The purpose of this study is to understand how the special characteristics of SMEs influence their KM processes. Design/methodology/approach - An in-depth exploratory research study using a multi-case design was conducted in four SMEs in Thailand. Four enterprise resource planning (ERP) service providers - two locally owned and two subsidiaries of multinational companies - participated in this qualitative study. Findings - The analysis demonstrates that, in general, ownership and management structure as well as culture and behaviour characteristics of SMEs seem to have a more positive effect than other SME characteristics on KM processes. System, process and procedure, and customer and market characteristics have a more moderate effect. Human capital management seems to hinder somewhat rather than facilitate KM processes. Research limitations/implications - The study covers four organisations; all are ERP service providers. Hence, the results may not directly apply to other types of business such as manufacturing or trading. Originality/value - The findings may be used as prescriptions for improving KM practices in SMEs. Further, this study may also serve as a basis for future quantitative research studies constructed to generalise these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-80
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Enterprise Information Management
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 13 2009


  • Knowledge management
  • Knowledge management systems
  • Knowledge processes
  • Manufacturing resource planning
  • Small to medium-sized enterprises
  • Thailand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Information Systems
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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