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Knowledge Management

John Sillince

Subject Strategic Management » Knowledge Management
Sociology » Sociology of Knowledge

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Knowledge management seeks to increase organizational capability to use knowledge as a source of competitive advantage. The field has risen to prominence along with the “knowledge worker,” who is someone who does work which involves knowledge which is socially complex, causally ambiguous, and tacit. Relevant theories include social capital theory and the resource-based view of the firm. Practitioner approaches to knowledge management emphasize ways of creating, diffusing, using, and evaluating knowledge. Strategy researchers attempt to create statements about the link between industry structure and firm performance in order to deliver guidance to leaders of firms. This guidance advocates either selection of an appropriate formula for changing industry structure, or diversification into more profitable industries. However, the value of such guidance is undermined by its key assumption of interfirm homogeneity – all firms can implement such strategies. An emerging theory of the resource-based view (RBV) of the firm and of sustainable competitive advantage implies that such strategies are not able to protect the firm against imitation or substitution. This has led to the rise in importance of theories of business strategy which privilege resources such as knowledge which are socially complex, tacit, and causally ambiguous. Socially complex resources are routines and skills which, because ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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