Enabling virtual SME knowledge sharing networks

[German title: Virtuellen KMU-Netzwerken die Wissensteilung ermöglichen]

Title: Designing a knowledge management tool to support knowledge sharing networks 
Author(s): Agustin Perez-Araos, Kevin D. Barber, J. Eduardo Munive-Hernandez, Steve Eldridge 
Journal: Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management 
ISSN: 1741-038X 
Year: 2007 Volume: 18 Issue: 2 Page: 153 – 168 
DOI: 10.1108/17410380710722872 
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited 

Abstract: Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present a knowledge management (KM) tool which has been designed to support the creation of virtual knowledge sharing networks (KSNs). It is a software-based application that enables the sharing of knowledge related to the implementation of manufacturing excellence (ME) best practices and improvement tools.
Design/methodology/approach – A survey of SMEs was carried out to investigate the implementation of ME best practices. The results indicated that that the main barrier to the implementation of best practices, quality models and improvement tools is a lack of knowledge about these initiatives due to the resource constraints experienced by SMEs. This led to the development of a KM tool to support the creation of virtual networks to enable SMEs to manage improvement projects and share effectively the generated knowledge. The KM tool is currently at the stage of validation and its future implementation is also under consideration.
Findings – The KM tool supports the creation of KSNs through an explicit KM approach to share ideas, experiences and knowledge about implementation of best practices and improvement tools; helping SMEs to become more competitive.
Practical implications – This research has demonstrated that is possible to provide a KM tool that is suitable for use by a KSN of SMEs. This approach allows transferring some of the tacit and explicit knowledge generated during the implementation of improvement initiatives into electronic documents for future consultation by KSN members.
Originality/value – The KM tool works not only as an electronic repository for knowledge, but it also drives users to apply and share knowledge through its capability to help managing improvement projects. 

Keywords: Knowledge management, Knowledge sharing, Learning processes, Small to medium-sized enterprises 

Article Type: Research paper 

Article URL: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/10.1108/17410380710722872

© Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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