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How to Sustain and Strengthen Corporate Knowledge Management in the Post-COVID Era

By Mostafa Sayyadi

            In the post-pandemic world, a critical question remains. How do a company’s characteristics impact organizational knowledge management? The scholars responded. Scholars presented executives with the knowledge-based view of the firm and a slew of internal resources that provided a direct vision for the organization. However, the literature, to date, has failed to provide a comprehensive framework which incorporates all of the internal resources that may simultaneously impact knowledge management. This article fills this gap in the literature by providing a comprehensive framework which incorporates all of the contextual factors that simultaneously impact knowledge management performance in corporations. For the executive’s corner, exploring these internal resources and how they may impact provide practical implications for top managers to improve outcomes at the organizational level and meet their business objectives. For the scholar’s corner, although prior studies provide evidence of the overlap between organizational internal resources and knowledge management in organizations, there is a gap in the literature in examining the implications of structure, culture, strategy, inter-companies social networks and stakeholder orientation for knowledge management effectiveness, through propelling knowledge management processes. Understanding these implications could provide a significant contribution to the literature, especially in developing a new and dynamic conception of a company’s characteristics within knowledge management paradigm. The original value of this article provides an impetus for knowledge management development in corporations.

            After my discussion with executive colleagues, I have found that organizational knowledge is affected by various internal resources of organizations. Here are some of the ideas that I gathered from executive colleagues leading during the post-pandemic world:

  1. Corporate Structure
    Executive colleagues mentioned that decentralization encourages organizational communication, and develops a climate of openness for employees to exchange new ideas. Therefore, employees can even implement ideas through delegating the authority of decision-making to their departments. Furthermore, they expressed that an informal structure enhances organizational communication, and the less emphasis on formal language itself could generate more knowledge, because formal procedures and rules can restrict the generation of new ideas. The literature is also rich in this area as various scholars investigated the impact of these structural aspects on various knowledge management processes such as knowledge acquiring, creating, sharing, and utilizing.
  2. Corporate Culture
    When asking executive colleagues how corporate culture can work best for them. They argued that a collaborative culture improves knowledge management processes. They also mentioned that a leader’s ability to create new knowledge and develop more innovative solutions is considerably dependent on the degree to which employees trust them. Accordingly, organizations that exhibit a sense of a high trust environment could positively impact the tendencies of human capital to share their knowledge with others. Another aspect that executive colleagues expressed was learning. Learning is an important requisite for knowledge creation. Firms that stress cultural aspects of learning are stronger in creating new knowledge, and also transferring this knowledge throughout the organization.
  3. Corporate Strategy
    In the post-pandemic world, executives identified ‘analysis strategy’ as a component to improve knowledge management performance. Analysis strategy is defined as the degree of tendency for searching of the problems and their roots aimed at generating better solution alternatives to solve them. Executive colleagues argued that analysis strategy is highly related to an organization’s capacity to generate new ideas and knowledge. In addition, pro-activeness strategy refers to a search for finding new opportunities and proactively responding to current challenges in external environments. The implementation and application of knowledge management projects require the continuous search of a turbulent business environment that needs to be addressed to remain proactive and reduce possible stressors to company performance.

    We asked executive colleagues how they felt about pro-activeness strategy. They responded that this strategy can be critical for enhancing the performance of knowledge management projects in organizations. Furthermore, they mentioned that a more defensiveness approach enhances efficiency through cutting the costs of the potentiality of future problems that may occur when an organization remains reactive as opposed to proactive which in turn propels the process of knowledge reuse in companies.
  4. Inter-Companies Social Networks
    Executive colleagues expressed that inter-companies social networks enhance knowledge acquisition. We asked them so what? They argued that the process of knowledge storing is highly dependent on the extent to which knowledge is transferred by these inter-companies social networks. This transference of knowledge itself can also improve knowledge utilization and creation within organizations. As a result, inter-companies social networks can be positively related to knowledge management performance.
  5. Stakeholder Orientation
    Stakeholder orientation is another important aspect of knowledge management performance during the post-Covid-19 world. Stakeholder orientation, as noted by executive colleagues, is directed to enhance the exchange of knowledge with various stakeholders and the application for more effective decisions. The executive colleagues I contacted told me that the knowledge exchanged is experience-based and highly relevant to both context and location, and can facilitate the generation of new knowledge, which represents those decisions and policies created by interacting with various stakeholders. Thus, a necessary precursor to the effective management of knowledge is to have a stakeholder orientation

In Conclusion

            This article helps executives build more effective knowledge-based businesses and sustain the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. In doing this, it provides elaborative insights for executives and senior managers by modeling how knowledge management performance can be affected by company characteristics. The evidence from this study suggests that these company characteristics include structure, culture, strategy, Inter-companies social networks and stakeholder orientation.

Mostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies, and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to business publications and his work has been featured in top-flight business publications.