Cerchione, Roberto (2016) Knowledge Management in Supply Chain. [Tesi di dottorato]

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Item Type: Tesi di dottorato
Lingua: English
Title: Knowledge Management in Supply Chain
Cerchione, Robertoroberto.cerchione@unina.it
Date: 31 March 2016
Number of Pages: 191
Institution: Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
Department: Ingegneria Industriale
Scuola di dottorato: Ingegneria industriale
Dottorato: Science and technology management
Ciclo di dottorato: 28
Coordinatore del Corso di dottorato:
Zollo, Giuseppegiuseppe.zollo@unina.it
Date: 31 March 2016
Number of Pages: 191
Uncontrolled Keywords: alignment evaluation system; fuzzy logic; IT-based tools; knowledge management (KM); knowledge management systems (KMSs); literature review; organisation practices; supply chain management; technology management; small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
Settori scientifico-disciplinari del MIUR: Area 09 - Ingegneria industriale e dell'informazione > ING-IND/35 - Ingegneria economico-gestionale
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2016 11:02
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2016 08:19
URI: http://www.fedoa.unina.it/id/eprint/10933


The aim of this thesis is to analyse the crucial role of knowledge management in supply chain starting from a systematic literature review on the topic. The thesis is structured in seven chapters. After the first chapter dedicated to the introduction, the aim of the second chapter is to provide a systematic review on knowledge management in supply chain in order to identify the state of art in the literature, highlight research gaps and define appropriate research questions to be addressed. The review was carried out using Scopus and Web of Science databases from 1960 to 2014. A total of seventy papers were selected and studied in detail. The paper highlights that knowledge management in supply chain is a crossroad research issue that includes a variety of contributions coming from different research areas. The paper also shows that although there is a growing number of papers addressing knowledge management in supply chain, many research issues are still neglected. The content analysis of the papers highlights seven main gaps in the literature. Starting from these seven gaps eight research questions are formulated. These research questions represent possible areas of investigation to improve the body of knowledge in the field of knowledge management in supply chain. The third chapter provides a systematic review of the literature on knowledge management (KM) in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and SME networks. The main objective is to highlight the state-of-the-art of KM from the management point of view in order to identify relevant research gaps. The review highlights that in recent years the trend of papers on the topic is growing and involves a variety of approaches, methodologies and models from different research areas. The vast majority of papers analysed focus on the topic of knowledge management in the SME while there are only few papers analysing KM in networks populated by SMEs. The content analysis of the papers highlights six areas of investigation from which were derived ten research questions concerning three perspectives: the factors affecting KM; the impact of KM on firm’s performance; the knowledge management systems (KMSs). The fourth chapter deals with knowledge management (KM) in small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Three research questions have been identified concerning the barriers hindering the spread of KM practices in SMEs, the main knowledge management systems (KMSs) adopted by SMEs and the impact of the use of KM practices on SME performance. The research questions were subsequently addressed through a field analysis conducted on a sample of SMEs. The empirical evidence highlights that the scenario has changed in the space of but a few years. Although SMEs are generally characterized by poor financial and human resources, they are able to overcome the barriers preventing the spread of KM practices. The SMEs investigated perceive the strategic value of KM and consequently adopt a variety of KMSs. Nevertheless, such systems are generally outdated in comparison with cheaper, more recent, and user-friendly applications. Finally, the chapter emphasizes that the use of KM practices can contribute to the overall growth of SMEs by simultaneously and significantly enhancing their performance. The fifth chapter provides an overview on the knowledge management systems (KMSs) adopted by small and medium enterprises (SMEs). KMSs are divided into two categories: knowledge management tools (KM-Tools) and knowledge management practices (KM-Practices). On the base of the analysis of the literature two research questions (RQs) were identified and addressed through semi-structured interviews carried out in a sample of 35 SMEs operating in high-tech industries. The first RQ concerns the degree of adoption of KMSs by SMEs. The second RQ regards the relationship between KM-Tools and KM-Practices. As far as the degree of adoption of KMSs, the chapter highlights that SMEs are not a homogeneous world but there are a variety of approaches and behaviours. As far as the relationship between the degree of adoption of KM-Tools and KM-Practices, the chapter identifies three groups of SMEs that seem to point out the stages of the process of adoption of KMSs: Introduction, SMEs that deal with the process of knowledge management exploiting practices and tools that already know; Growth, SMEs that adopt specialist practices of knowledge management acquiring new organizational and managerial competence in the field of knowledge management; Maturity, SMEs that invest in new technology and that acquire new technological competence in the field of knowledge management. The sixth chapter aims to highlight the degree of diffusion and the intensity of use of knowledge management systems (KMSs) among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and to propose a taxonomy that synthesises the strategies of using KMSs on the part of SMEs. Starting from a literature review on KMSs used by SMEs and from a focus group with consultants/researchers operating in the field of information technology in SMEs, an empirical investigation was designed, developed and conducted through semi-structured interviews involving 61 selected SMEs operating in high tech industries. The chapter highlights three main issues regarding the use of KMSs. Firstly, SMEs adopt and use more intensively traditional tools (KM-Tools) rather than new and more updated ones that are generally cheaper and easier to use. Secondly, SMEs adopt and make more intensive use of practices (KM-Practices) that do not exclusively focus on the knowledge management process, but seek to adapt practices they already know to the requirements of knowledge management. Finally, the chapter points out that there is a relationship of reciprocity between KM-Tools and KM-Practices: one reinforces the other and vice versa. The chapter proposes a taxonomy bringing together SME strategies for using KMSs. Specifically, four strategies are identified: guidepost, explorer, exploiter, and latecomer. The seventh chapter analyses the alignment between knowledge management systems and the nature of small and medium enterprises’ knowledge. Based on a Delphi panel involving senior KM consultants and a field analysis conducted in 61 SMEs operating in complex manufacturing and service industries, a software in Matlab language named KM-Alignment Evaluation System (KM-AES) has been designed to elaborate the collected data. The methodology used by the software is based on a three-dimensional fuzzy term set. The results highlight that KM-Tools used by the firms are aligned with KM-Practices they should support according to the epistemological and ontological dimensions identified by Nonaka. Specifically, there is a relation of reciprocity between KM-Tools and KM-Practices used by the firms: the higher the degree of coverage of KM-Tools with KM-Practices, the higher the degree of coverage of KM-Practices with KM-Tools and vice versa. Nevertheless, both KM-Tools and KM-Practices are misaligned with firm’s corporate knowledge used in five macro-processes identified (planning, production, organization, market relationships, strategic relationships). Moreover, the chapter allows to identify four different strategies of KMSs adoption for SMEs: misaligned SMEs, efficiently misaligned SMEs, effectively misaligned SMEs, aligned SMEs. The findings show that the majority of surveyed firms are efficiently misaligned SMEs. These latter have great potential for growth and through appropriate learning and training processes involving KM experts and/or KMSs’ providers, they can become aligned SMEs. Finally, the eighth chapter summarises the conclusions and implications of the thesis.

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