Espoused versus realized knowledge management tool usage in knowledge intensive organizations

Taman Powell, Veronique Ambrosini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Many knowledge-intensive organizations (KIOs) have invested in tools and policies to enhance knowledge-sharing and application as this is crucial for their growth. The implementation of these tools results in multiple approaches for knowledge-sharing being available. This article reports on an empirical study of five global management consultancies investigating how consultants choose between these knowledge-sharing alternatives and the factors driving this choice. Our findings indicate that consultants base their decisions on both judging the anticipated benefits of the knowledge content and the associated process costs. Importantly, the criteria employed to assess these knowledge-sharing alternatives were different to that of the leadership. The use of different criteria resulted in the leadership championing tools and policies that the consultants did not perceive as valuable. The study contributes to the HRM and knowledge management literature, not only by surfacing criteria, yet to be discussed in the literature, used by the leadership and consultants of KIOs in determining which knowledge-sharing approach to use, but also by highlighting that when considering KM tools it was critical to take a multi-level approach as there may be some differences in rationales as to why some systems are used or not.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-378
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2017


  • consulting
  • human resource management
  • knowledge management
  • knowledge-intensive organizations
  • knowledge-sharing
  • Leadership
  • social networks

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