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Role of knowledge management processes within different stages of technological innovation : evidence from biotechnology SMEs

Bloem, Valerie; Salimi, Negin

Summary

Managing technological innovations in the knowledge-intensive and dynamic biotechnology industry involves the effective application of knowledge. Knowledge management has been shown to improve technological innovation capabilities, thus indirectly contributing to sustainable competitive advantage. This paper views knowledge management from a process capabilities perspective and aims to understand its role within the technological innovation process in biotechnology sector in the Netherlands. Through a qualitative and exploratory research design including 15 biotechnology case interviews, three general roles of knowledge management processes were identified: a key role, a supporting role, and a complementary role. The roles depend on the innovation phase. Four propositions are introduced and shed more light on the role of each individual knowledge management process with respect to the different innovation phases. Understanding how these processes work throughout the innovation process will provide insight for organisations on how to use knowledge management effectively to improve the innovation process performance.