Strategic Knowledge Management, Innovation and Performance: An Initial Study of Portuguese Footwear Companies

Marques, Carla Susana Da Encarnação
Leal, Carmem Teresa Pereira
Marques, Carlos Peixeira
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Polytechnic Institute of Santarém
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In recent years knowledge management (KM) has become a major focus of attention among academics, politicians, policy‐makers and other stakeholders involved in the sphere of strategic management. The recent work of Choi et al. (2008), López‐Nicólas and Meroño‐Cerdán (2011), Jiménez‐Jiménez and Sanz‐Valle (2011) provides comprehensive and perceptive contextualizations of the key issues surrounding the potential implications of knowledge management for innovation and performance in the organizations. Few empirical studies have examined the interface between strategic management, innovation and performance, and none, to our knowledge, has been applied to the footwear industry. The choice of this sector is justified by the growth of production and exports in a period of financial crisis (7.6% in 2013) and the fact that 132 countries are currently importing Portuguese‐made footwear, exports of which now constituting 96% of the industry’s output. The present study aims to extend research into the importance of knowledge management’s contribution to business strategy, thereby shedding light on whether improvements in the former can directly or indirectly enhance organizational performance, via increases in innovation in the footwear industry. This article focuses on the first phase of a study in which we opted for a qualitative methodology, applying semi‐structured interviews to the CEOs of three companies and three academic specialists in this area, with a view to evaluating the relation between strategic knowledge management (above all, aspects related to codification and personalisation) and their consequences for innovation and for the firms’ (financial and non‐financial) performance. Our analysis of the interviews suggests that knowledge management strategies (codification and personalisation) have a positive effect on innovation and organizational performance, both directly and indirectly, thereby identifying a series of potentially interesting hypotheses that can be tested using a more quantitative research model.
knowledge management , strategy , innovation , performance , footwear industry