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Knowledge Management in Small Businesses



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Knowledge Management in Small Businesses P J Bamji Associate Professor Director Queen s University Kingston Ontario Canada P Gray Assistant Professor University of Pittsburg Pittsburg PA USA D Meister Assistant Professor University of Western Ontario London Ontario Canada K Mills Business Development Representative Black McDonald Toronto Ontario Canada Contact details Dr P J Bamji Queen s School of Business Queen s University Kingston Ontario K7L 3N6 Canada Tel 613 533 3020 Fax 613 533 2321 e mail pbamji business queensu ca Websites http business queensu ca and http www qsbc com Abstract The practice of managing knowledge based assets is important for managers in small and large businesses alike To better understand the knowledge management strategies and tools currently employed by small businesses in Canada an exploratory study of knowledge intensive small businesses some in the high technology sector in Eastern and Southern Ontario Canada was undertaken by Queen s School of Business Although survey findings generally concurred with the original hypotheses a few surprising results were observed For example despite the fact that most respondents agreed with the idea that by tapping into knowledge sources such as groups and other employees they were able to better perform workrelated tasks 65 of respondents felt that knowledge management practices were unimportant for small businesses Similarly although certain knowledge sources for example co location meetings email printed publications training materials and mentors proved to be important for knowledge seekers in small businesses other knowledge sources including electronic discussion groups knowledge maps instant messaging knowledge resources and web pages were deemed to be less useful The following reasons are being proposed for the lack of popularity of the latter media 1 The availability of vital resources to create effective comprehensive knowledge management programs 2 The structure and processes of most



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