Author:Stephen, Ibidunni Ayodotun


Within the last two decades, there has been increasing awareness among firms across global cultures about the importance of knowledge in achieving and sustaining organizational competitive performance. This research study is aimed at conceptualizing the knowledge strategy (KS) concept by linking organizational knowledge with strategic orientation constructs. Within the existent body of literature on organizational knowledge, there is still a gap with identifying how organizational knowledge capabilities, resources and processes should be linked to the organizational strategic orientation as a means of achieving competitive advantage (Davenport, 1999). None the less, addressing this gap is important to ensure that the information and knowledge resources in the organization are: a) vital for the strategic pursuit of the firm; b) properly processed by the firms interconnected knowledge assets to achieve the desired competitive advantages.

As this relationship occurs within the organizational system, three unique and strategically significant dimensions of knowledge strategy will result (Bierly & Chakrabarti, 1996; Zack, 1999). They are scope of knowledge, which reflect the broadness and depth of organizational knowledge; applicability of knowledge, which portrays the aggressive and conservative means of infusing organizational knowledge into its strategic drives; suitability of knowledge, relating to internal and external knowledge gathering by the firm. However, this research identifies that an additional dimension of knowledge strategy, which existing research works have not discussed is efficacy of knowledge, which pertains to the immediate and future relevance of organizational knowledge resources and capabilities to achieving its competitive strategies.

Moreover, the conceptualization of the term knowledge strategy in existing research reflects more on the aspects of organizational knowledge characteristics (with respect to, acquisition, adaptation and utilization) in the organization, rather than a strategic view of knowledge as a competitive resource. Consequently, this research argues that a typical view of knowledge strategy and its dimensionality must reflect organizational knowledge availability, features and utilization upon the firm's strategic orientation as a means to driving knowledgebased competitive performance for the organization. Thus, these knowledge strategy dimensions have not been found to be researched in existing literature.


Organizational Knowledge as a Strategic Resource

Within the last two decades, there has been increasing awareness among firms across global cultures about the importance of knowledge in achieving and sustaining organizational competitive performance. Knowledge as a strategic resource within the organizational context has been examined in literature, such as Garrido-Moreno & Padilla-Melendez (2011); Moore, (2012); Routley, Phaal, Anthanassopoulou & Probert (2013). Proponents of the resource based view of the firm have argued that knowledge is an important resource of the firm and which the firm has control over (Wernerfelt, 1984; Barney, 1991). According to Sbaffoni (2010), whereas innovation drives organizational competitiveness, but innovation is actually driven by knowledge.

Wiklund & Shephered (2003) suggested that an organization's ability to discover and exploit competitive opportunities depends on its knowledge resource. Omezerel & Gulez (2011) asserted that organizational knowledge is the most important intangible resource of any organization because it is the most difficult to imitate. Knowledge has the ability to acquire and sustain a unique competitive position for the organization. To achieve this, Sharma & Mishra (2007) opined that successful firms do acknowledge the need for applying knowledge across their range of resources.

As a source of creating a competitive advantage that is hard to imitate across industry and by other firms, the resource based view suggests that an organization's knowledge resource must be homogenous and inaccessible by competitors (Barney, 1991). Abdollahi, Rezaeian & Mohseni (2008) identified that such kind of knowledge is embedded in the tacit knowledge of the organization's human resources; it is enclosed in the organizational routines and developed from learning. An attempt of competitors to imitate and acquire this knowledge requires that they engage in such experiences, which could be pains taking and time demanding.

Zack (1999) further observed that in an industry where resources are closely identical, an organization with a unique knowledge about how to combine and manipulate these resources will stand out. Therefore, it is important to suggest that an organization's level of industry competitiveness is linked to its knowledge, that is, the quality and degree of knowledge about the internal and external contexts that surround its operations and the modalities involved. Information gathered through organizational mechanisms, especially from employees, must be translated into knowledge to be viable and unique (Kok, 2004). This is achieved through an assessment process in which top management and their team filter available information to fit into the unique strategic intents of the firm. Then it must be imparted into the human resource and every other business process of the organization to make it unique to the firm and a competitive knowledge resource.

Organizational knowledge reflects in its business processes and be driven by the human, processes, infrastructural and technological resources of the organization (Kok, 2004). Donnellan & Bruss (2004) also agreed that incorporating knowledge into business activities can result in higher returns for the organization. In his own argument, Zack (2005) suggested that for knowledge to act effectively as a competitive resource, it should yield advantageous outcomes which help in achieving the organization's competitive strategy. Also, Venkitachalam, Scheepers & Gibbs (2003) opined that competitive knowledge as a strategic resource should present the organization's activities as unique and value adding apart from those of its competitors.

Linking Organizational Knowledge and Strategy

Knowledge engages humans in a dynamic social process that shapes/creates a desirable future (Takeuchi, 2013). Understanding, that strategy basically is about creating a future, it...

To continue reading