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Journal cover: Journal of Knowledge Management

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Online from: 1997

Subject Area: Information and Knowledge Management

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Organizational structure features supporting knowledge management processes


Document Information:
Title:Organizational structure features supporting knowledge management processes
Author(s):Enrique Claver-Cortés, (Department of Business Management, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain.), Patrocinio Zaragoza-Sáez, (Department of Business Management, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain.), Eva Pertusa-Ortega, (Department of Business Management, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain.)
Citation:Enrique Claver-Cortés, Patrocinio Zaragoza-Sáez, Eva Pertusa-Ortega, (2007) "Organizational structure features supporting knowledge management processes", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 11 Iss: 4, pp.45 - 57
Keywords:Competitive advantage, Knowledge management, Knowledge processes, Organizational structures
Article type:Case study
DOI:10.1108/13673270710762701 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract:

PurposeThe idea that knowledge management can be a potential source of competitive advantage has gained strength in the last few years. However, a number of business actions are needed to generate an appropriate environment and infrastructure for knowledge creation, transfer and application. Among these actions there stands out the design of an organizational structure, the link of which with knowledge management is the main concern here. More specifically, the present paper has as its aim to identify the characteristics of organizational structure that facilitate the development of knowledge management processes.

Design/methodology/approachThe research strategy used to achieve this aim is the multiple case study method, which has been applied to six Spanish firms of recognized international prestige characterized by their excellence and proactivity in matters of knowledge.

FindingsIn general terms, the results show that these companies adopt flexible, increasingly flat organizational forms with fewer hierarchical levels which not only allow but also encourage communication and teamwork among staff members so that everybody can interact more easily. This makes it possible for employees to take better advantage of their competencies, generating organizational routines and increasing the value of their contributions thanks to the freedom of action they are given.

Originality/valueThe main contribution made in this paper lies in the fact that, from a study of business practices, it describes the way in which certain Spanish companies construct knowledge socially and orient their behavior through their organizational structure.



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