Knowledge management (KM) emerged as a discipline in early ‘90s. Since then a lot of efforts have been made to identify and study the strategic impact of KM in business management. In this context a number of conceptual frameworks have been proposed with the aim of defining the features, contents, role and relevance of KM (Poynder, 1998; Wiig, 1993; Sveiby, 1998; Prusak, 2001; Heisig, 2009; Bontis, 1998; Liebowitz and Wilcox, 1997; Nonaka et al, 2000). These frameworks have significantly contributed to identifying and understanding the position and application of KM within organisations and to disentangle the complex relationships linking the assessment and management of knowledge resources with organisational value creation capacity.
After more than two decades of research it is important to clarify how this research stream can be further developed. Some authors point out that most of the attention has been paid to KM in terms of enablers, processes, people, technologies or performance, but mainly in isolation. For example, Meso and Smith (2000) consider that under a socio-technical perspective, knowledge management activities are seen as being complex combinations of technology and organisational infrastructure, corporate culture, knowledge and people. Korac-Kakabadse et al. (2002) argue that alternative views to knowledge management for innovation that are more contingent and contextualised need to be explored. Phipps and Prieto (2012) developed a model showing the relationship between knowledge management and creativity, and stressing the moderating effect of the entrepreneurial mindset to seek, identify, pursue and exploit opportunities.
There is no doubt that KM is now at the crossroads and needs to look towards new research and practice horizons, and then advance new thinking in relation to the complex and multifaced essence of knowledge as a driver of performance and growth. A “quantum leap” is needed to avoid KM becoming just a fad or a sales pitch (Ruggles, 1998) and to solve the question of whether KM can survive into the future (Liebowitz, 2011). As in quantum physics, the energy to allow KM to move from the current “state” of research to the next (future directions) can be provided by adopting breakthrough approaches or providing sudden energy from multi-disciplinary and holistic contributions deriving from other disciplines.
In order to alleviate these limitations, this special issue invites academics and practitioners to reflect on the future challenges of KM as a discipline or/and as an organisational practice, and to suggest insights and directions for future research (Scholl et al. 2004). The purpose is to identify the future contributions of KM to the literature and to management processes and practices.
In our view, a potential way to move research on KM forward would be to consider how existing research in other disciplines can impact KM practice. Besides strategic management, economics, accounting and information technology, more attention should be paid to psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, arts, architecture and neurosciences (Moustaghfir and Schiuma, 2013). Some scholars also recognise the importance of such a multi-disciplinary approach and some others have already made attempts to apply such principles while conducting their research studies.
The purpose is to point out the conceptual pillars and to contribute to the evolving debate investigating new theoretical and empirical contributions at different “ontological” level of analysis: business, project, organisation, inter-organisation, university, region and ecosystems.
The issue will carry revised and substantially extended versions of selected papers presented at theInternational Forum on Knowledge Assets Dynamics (IFKAD 2014), but we also strongly encourage researchers unable to participate in the conference to submit articles for this call.
Submitted papers may investigate, from theoretical and/or practical and empirical perspectives, but without being limited to, the following relevant topics:
- Advancements in KM theory and practices
- Linking organisational knowledge, innovation and performance
- Identifying future knowledge and information needs in organisations
- Capturing the hidden value of knowledge assets in organisations
- KM practice and value creation: qualitative and quantitative methods
- KM as a path for developing sustainable organisations
- The levers of success in KM implementation
- The impact of ecological, biological and other disciplines on KM
- Complexity theory and KM
- KM's role for organisational capabilities development
- Arts-based initiatives for innovation management and value creation
- Shaping organisation environments through knowledge, creativity and art
- Universities' role in KM for sustainable growth in the 21st century
- The impact of web 2.0 and social technologies on KM
- KM in inter-organisational networks and ecosystems
- KM in different industrys' projects environments
- KM for economic and social development of countries
- Collective intelligence and KM for innovation
Manuscript submission: 12 December, 2014
Notification to authors: 31 January, 2015
Final paper submission: 31 March, 2015