A pluralistic approach to knowledge management practices: evidence from consultancy companies

Taman Powell, Véronique Ambrosini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An organization’s capacity to share knowledge among its individuals and teams and apply that shared knowledge to perform important activities is increasingly perceived as a vital source of competitive advantage in many industries. This importance is reflected in the large number of organizations that have implemented formal approaches to knowledge management to in- fluence the application of organizational knowledge over the last two decades. Extant theory argues that organizations must focus their efforts on either the codification or personalization approach to knowledge management and maintain this focus unless there is a contextual change within the organization. The empirical research in this paper, based on 42 interviews across 5 management consultancies, found that the consultancies implemented multiple approaches to address specific knowledge-related objectives, conflicting with the prediction of extant theory. These consultancies also changed their approach to knowledge management for both contextual and learning-based reasons. Building on these findings, a pluralistic model of knowledge management is developed that balances the strengths and weaknesses of knowledge management approaches to deliver an integrated solution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-226
JournalLong Range Planning : International journal of strategic planning
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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