Knowledge management in SMEs: A literature review

Susanne Durst*, Ingi Runar Edvardsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

307 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The aim of this paper is to review research on knowledge management in small and medium-sized enterprises to identify gaps in the current body of knowledge, which justify future research directions. Design/methodology/approach: The study consists of a systematic review of 36-refereed empirical articles on knowledge management and small and medium-sized enterprises. Findings: The areas of knowledge management implementation, knowledge management perception, and knowledge transfer are relatively well researched topics; whereas those of knowledge identification, knowledge storage/retention and knowledge utilisation are poorly understood. Given the prevalence of small and medium-sized enterprises there is a strong need for more research on this important topic. The future research directions proposed by the authors may help to develop a greater understanding of knowledge management in small and medium-sized enterprises. Research limitations/implications: By only using the ProQuest database this study may not have allowed a complete coverage of all empirical articles in the field of knowledge management in small and medium-sized enterprises. Yet, it is believed that the findings provide a valuable understanding of the current situation in this research field. The study proposes a number of future research directions, which may stimulate more intensive research in this important field. Originality/value: To the best of the authors' knowledge, no systematic literature review on this topic has previously been published in academic journals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879-903
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Knowledge Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

Other keywords

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Knowledge management
  • Research
  • Small to medium-sized enterprises
  • Systematic review


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