Title: Understanding one aspect of the knowledge leakage concept among SMEs: people

Authors: Souad Mohamed, Rhoda Coles, Diane Mynors, Paul Chan, Andrew Grantham, Kathryn Walsh

Addresses: Westminster Business School, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5LS, UK. ' Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, UK. ' Engineering and Technology Department, School of Engineering and the Built Environment (SEBE), University of Wolverhampton, Wulfruna Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1SB, UK. ' School of the Built Environment, Northumbria University, Ellison Building (Room A221B), Ellison Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8ST, UK. ' Centre for Research in Innovation Management (CENTRIM), University of Brighton, The Freeman Centre (University of Sussex campus), Brighton, BN1 9QE, UK. ' Electronics-enabled Products Knowledge Transfer Network, c/o Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, LE11 3TU, UK

Abstract: To guarantee the success of a commercial organisation in the present tremendously competitive world, managers need to enhance best practices and retain in-house knowledge and experience. An organisation|s competitive advantage can be lost if knowledge and/or experience is lost or |leaked|. The research described here explores whether organisations are aware of knowledge leakage routes via people, and the positive and negative consequences that can result. The concept of knowledge leakage is not well understood and the nature of this research is exploratory. This paper discusses the findings of a study carried out in SMEs involved in manufacturing and design. As a result, a taxonomy of knowledge leakage via people with an integrated approach to knowledge |loss| and |gain| is proposed.

Keywords: knowledge leakage; positive leakage; negative leakage; taxonomy; knowledge management; tacit knowledge; information flows; electronic business; e-business; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; manufacturing organisations; design organisations; UK; United Kingdom.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEB.2007.012974

International Journal of Electronic Business, 2007 Vol.5 No.2, pp.204 - 219

Published online: 02 Apr 2007 *

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