The knowledge-based-view (KBV) of the firm has received wide acceptance and support. This view recognizes that knowledge is an asset with as much importance as capital to an organization. With this recognition, many scholars and organizations have stressed the importance of sharing their knowledge globally. As a result, many organizations have attempted a variety of knowledge management programs. However, important knowledge to an organization (or subset of an organization) can vary drastically based on knowledge characteristics, including the half-life of the knowledge. This can impact the ways that companies organize and share their knowledge. As a result, the rate of obsolescence of knowledge can be viewed as a contingency variable that influences effective organization design and strategy. Using KBV, organization theory, and contingency theory, this paper begins to analyze how knowledge characteristics of important knowledge for different types of firms and different types of communities within firms influences the ways they manage knowledge. It suggests that organizations that account for the characteristics of important knowledge when designing and implementing a knowledge management program can have a strategic advantage over competitors.
Javernick-Will, A. and Levitt, R. (2009). “Knowledge as a Contingency Variable for Organizing Knowledge Management Solutions.” Specialty Conference on Leadership and Management in Construction. South Lake Tahoe, CA.