Managing knowledge in SMEs: What are some peculiarities?

Kevin C. Desouza, Yukika Awazu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter we discuss seven peculiarities about knowledge management practices at small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). We draw our findings from a nine-month investigation of knowledge management practices at 25 SMEs. Managing knowledge is a critical capability for SMEs to master because it helps them leverage their most critical resource. Organizational knowledge is the most salient resource at the disposal of SMEs in terms of availability, access, and depth. Successful SMEs are those who can leverage their knowledge in an effective and efficient manner, so as to make up for deficiencies in traditional resources, like land, labor, and capital. In our research, we discovered that SMEs do not manage knowledge the same way as larger organizations do. Viewing SME knowledge management practices as scaled down versions of the practices found in larger organizations is incorrect. SMEs have understandable resource constraints, and hence have to be creative in working around these limitations in order to manage knowledge. Therefore, the goal of this chapter is to describe peculiarities in SME knowledge management practices, with the hope of enticing scholars and practitioners to follow-up with more detailed research undertakings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGlobal Electronic Business Research
Subtitle of host publicationOpportunities and Directions
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781591406426
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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