Inter-organizational knowledge management : A case study in a Swedish economic association

University essay from Högskolan Dalarna/Företagsekonomi; Högskolan Dalarna/Företagsekonomi

Abstract: Purpose The purpose of this case study is to understand how inter-organizational knowledge management is conducted in an economic association by analysing how different actor representatives perceive the inter-organizational collaboration. Design/methodology/approach The method of this study is qualitative, with a single case study of an economic association in Dalarna, Sweden. The interviews were of semi-structured character. A total of nine respondents were interviewed; four respondents from private member organizations, three respondents from public member organizations and two respondents employed by the economic association. Findings and conclusion Six themes were found that together answers the purpose of this study. These themes are personalization, codification, collaboration, conditions, capabilities and challenges. The personalization strategy from the knowledge management framework by Hansen et al (1999) is suggested to be the main strategy in the case of the economic association, while the codification strategy is the supporting strategy working in relation to each other. In order to use those strategies in this interorganizational context, four other themes are added in a model created by the authors of this study. The four additional themes need to be taken in consideration and as the theme capabilities points out; the inter-organizational collaboration gives not only challenges, but also opportunities for the participating organizations. Furthermore, the conditions and the reasons for collaborating can be used for improving the structure of an inter-organizational collaboration. Practical Information A Swedish economic association can be described as a legal entity which involves a minimum of three partners, with a common interest and where all members of the economic association are required to participate in the activities of the economic association. Originality/Value This study contributes to the field of inter-organizational knowledge management by providing insight from a Swedish economic association perspective. There is an apparent gap pointed out between theory driven and practical driven research, where this single case study aims to contribute to the practical field of applying inter-organizational knowledge management perspective into a real case scenario. The case is particularly interesting to study since there are 33 organizations involved in knowledge management, with knowledge bases of both private and public sectors, small- and middlesized organizations and from different branches.

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