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Dissertation Proposal and Dissertation Manuscript

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Version: October 2020

Impact of Knowledge Management Strategies on the Competitive Advantage of Medium-Sized Enterprises.

Dissertation Proposal

Submitted to Northcentral University

School of Business

in Partial Fulfillment of the

Requirements for the Degree of




San Diego, California

January 2022


This study is qualitative research on the Impact of Organizational Culture on Knowledge Management in Medium-Sized Enterprises. The focus of this research is to determine the impact of knowledge management strategies on the competitive advantage of Medium-Sized Enterprises. The research problem for this study is why Medium-Sized Enterprises experience lowered competitive advantage when faced with the inability to utilize organizational cultural strategies that promote knowledge management. Medium-Sized Enterprises face resource constraints in terms of human resources, finances, and time. This inhibits their capability of taking advantage of knowledge management benefits that give them a competitive advantage in the market. The purpose of this qualitative study is to examine the impact of organizational cultural strategies that promote investment in knowledge management within Medium-Sized Enterprises. The guiding theoretical framework for this study is Ecological Knowledge Management Theory that comprises of the four elements knowledge distribution, knowledge competition, knowledge interaction, and knowledge evolution. The research methodology that will be applied in this research is qualitative research. The case study will be the research design that will be used for this research. The research instruments that will be used in this research include interviews, observation, reading, and document review.


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Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction 1
Statement of the Problem 3
Purpose of the Study 5
Introduction to Theoretical Framework 6
Introduction to Research Methodology and Design 7
Research Questions 8
RQ1 8
RQ2 8
Significance of the Study 8
Definitions of Key Terms 10
Medium-Sized Enterprises 10
Summary 10
References 12
Appendix A 14
XXX 14
Appendix B 15
XXX 15

List of Tables

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List of Figures

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Chapter 1: Introduction

Knowledge management is crucial in developing and sustaining organizational strategies. Knowledge management involves the collection, analysis, classification, dissemination, and reuse of data to bolster business activities (Jones & Shideh, 2021). Organizations use knowledge management systems for various reasons. Some purposes of knowledge management are increasing revenues, expanding market shares, creating customer-specific products, and targeting messaging and advertisements. Many large corporate organizations have successfully installed knowledge management systems within their operations and gained a competitive advantage within their specialization areas (Hussain et al., 2021). On the contrary, Medium-Sized enterprises continue to experience challenges of installing knowledge management systems to gain a competitive advantage, meet their strategies, and stay at the top of the pyramid (Mazorodze & Buckley, 2021).

Knowledge management is fundamental to all organizations regardless of the product or industry. These organizations rely on the knowledge and expertise of their employees and stakeholders for them to be successful (Mazorodze & Buckley, 2021). Knowledge is an essential asset for organizations. However, these organizations need to incorporate processes that grow, store, and share the knowledge between stakeholders to increase effective use of knowledge and stakeholder efficiency. According to Priya et al. (2019) an effective knowledge management system is dependent on employees and what they choose to share. Employees ensure a lasting benefit to the organization by implementing efficient knowledge management strategies. Knowledge management can present challenges to the business if the employees are not able to adequately apply knowledge management strategies. These challenges can be highlighted if the search mechanisms of knowledge management within the organization are not powerful and produce inaccurate results or the organization does not have up to date information (Priya et al., 2019).

Medium-Sized Enterprises encounter resource challenges as opposed to large organizations. These resource constraints hinder Medium-Sized Enterprises from implementing knowledge management strategies in their business operations. Resource constraints for Medium-Sized Enterprises are characterized by limited finances, human resources, infrastructure, and time (Schropfer et al., 2017). Medium-Sized Enterprises are hindered from investing in knowledge management strategies and information systems. This generally leads to knowledge loss and mismanagement of organizational information (Wei et al., 2017). These outcomes generate loopholes for Medium-Sized Enterprises and the inability to take advantage of information retention and analysis. Failure to implement organizational cultural norms that encourage knowledge management efficacy for Medium-Sized Enterprises minimizes their competitive advantage in the market.

This research topic is relevant because investment in knowledge management is an emergent business tactic that improves the competitive advantage or organizations in their respective industries (Rialti et al., 2020). This research will also help develop a detailed analysis of knowledge management, Medium-Sized Enterprises, and organizational culture. This research will enhance scholar knowledge on the benefits of knowledge management in Medium-Sized Enterprises. Knowledge management allows organizational stakeholders to stimulate cultural changes and innovation which helps the organization to evolve to the dynamic business need in their market.

The study of knowledge management impact on Medium-Sized Enterprises is crucial because there is an increasing number of Medium-Sized Enterprises embracing knowledge management strategies in their business operations. This study will provide information that can be used to assess the positive and negative impact of applying certain knowledge management strategies in Medium-Sized Enterprises. Additionally, scholars and researchers can utilize this study as a knowledge base for future research. This research is aimed at contributing to the field of business and organizational leadership that can be referred to by future scholars

There has been various research conducted on knowledge management. A study conducted on the impact of knowledge management in improving organizational effectiveness determined the link between organizational effectiveness and knowledge management and how competitive advantage is generated in the business world (Finn, 2013). Ngulube (2019) maps the methodological issues that arise during knowledge management research. Additionally, researchers have conducted studies to determine the factors that influence knowledge management in practice. Existent research by previous researchers will help to create a balance between individual work and collaborative work from the scholar community.

Statement of the Problem

The problem to be addressed in the study is why Medium-Sized Enterprises experience lower competitive advantage when faced with the inability to utilize organizational cultural strategies that promote knowledge management. Medium-Sized Enterprises face financial and resource constraints to invest in business strategies like knowledge management. Few Medium-Sized Enterprises have calculated the cost of knowledge management. They rarely adopt practices targeted at improving knowledge management (Castagna et al., 2020). Medium-Sized Enterprises experience knowledge loss because of financial and resource constraints during investment in knowledge management and failure to integrate organizational cultural strategies that foster knowledge management. Hence, Medium-Sized Enterprises miss out on the benefits of knowledge management in better decision making, improved organizational agility, increased rate of innovation, quick problem-solving, improved business processes, employee growth and development, better communication, and competitive advantage (Yekkeh et al., 2021).

Organizations that apply knowledge management tactics in their business strategies help maximize their gains in multiple ways (Przysucha, 2017). Medium-Sized Enterprise organizational culture is not focused on knowledge management investment, strategies, and benefits. According to Hussain et al. (2021), organizational culture is influential in promoting behaviors fundamental to knowledge management. These behaviors include sharing and creating knowledge and mediating the relationships between individual knowledge and organizational knowledge. Organizational culture shapes employee attitude, behavior, and identity. Knowledge is a fundamental resource for all organizations, including Medium-Sized Enterprises (Castagna et al., 2020). The increase in competition and advanced management strategies in companies has heightened the need for organizations to implement knowledge management strategies to gain a competitive edge.

Knowledge management is mostly referred to as a general improvement practice that is used to enhance the effectiveness of knowledge in organizations especially in intensive companies (Peter, 2002). Medium-Sized Enterprises face risks and problems due to immaturity of knowledge management practices and failure to integrate knowledge management in their organizational culture that will ensure consistent knowledge management practices for the organization. A lack of consistency in knowledge management practices for the organization gradually lowers the capability of Medium-Sized Enterprises to maintain a competitive edge in their industries. If this problem is not addressed, Medium-Sized Enterprises face the risk of instability and inability to foster rapid adaptation to the changing market demands and technology in the business environment (Peter, 2002).

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this qualitative exploratory case study is to examine the impact of organizational culture norms that promote investment in knowledge management strategies in Medium-Sized Enterprises. The aim of this research is systematic management of Medium-Sized Enterprise knowledge assets to meet strategic and tactical requirements and creating value for the organization (Jonsson, 2015). By implementing knowledge management strategies in Medium-Sized Enterprises enhances competitive advantage and improves its success. This is possible through effective use of knowledge resources and assets to provide the ability to respond and innovate to changing market demands.

The target population for this research is a medium-sized information technology company located in the northeastern part of the United States. The organization employs at least 50 participants for it to run normally. A sample of 26 participants will be recruited from the target population to participate in the study because a number slightly above half the population will yield comprehensive results. A sample size is selected based on demographics like physical location, availability, and reliability, (Jenkins et al., 2020).

The research instruments that will be used to collect data from the research participants will include individual in-person and video-conferencing interviews. The interviews will take approximately thirty to forty-five minutes. Interviews will be conducted for data collection purposes. During the interviews, the researcher will describe the purpose of the research and inform the participants that they can stop the interview process at any time. The qualitative data collected for this study will be analyzed using descriptive analysis. Descriptive analysis is the investigation of the distribution of complex and critical data into proper numbers and figures by identifying the association between various numerous and data on knowledge management in the Medium-Sized Enterprise.

The research process of this study will incorporate identifying an ideal sample from the target population at the Medium-Sized Enterprise, defining the sampling frame, data collection, data analysis, and the major processes of the research and the results. All participant information collected during this research will be kept confidential and securely stored. Inductive coding will be used to code the dataset used in this research. Thematic analysis will be used to analyze data collected from this research.

Introduction to Theoretical Framework

The theory that will be applicable for this study is the Ecological Knowledge Management theory. The Ecological Knowledge Management theory deals with people, relationships, and learning communities (Martins et al., 2019). Knowledge management research can be traced to the 1970s where the early work focused on sociology of knowledge around organizations and technical work in knowledge-based expert systems. Previous knowledge management frameworks focused on knowledge management from a process view. This includes activities like storage, transfer, retrieval, and application of knowledge from one generation to another. Ecology is used to analyze the relationship among members and how they interact with the environment (Martins et al., 2019).

The Ecological Knowledge Management Theory is a model that comprises knowledge interaction, knowledge distribution, knowledge evolution, and knowledge competition. This model is effective in determining the knowledge management strategies and how they are applied in organizations. The theory will be essential in explaining how the interaction of the human resource, clients, and technology can be used to establish knowledge management systems in organizations. The Ecological Knowledge Management Theory applies to this study because it consists of four elements that interact with each other to evolve and enhance a healthy knowledge ecology within organizations (Raudeliuniene et al., 2018). The four elements are knowledge distribution, knowledge interaction, knowledge competition and knowledge evolution. According to Deng-Neng et al. (2010) maintaining an effective knowledge ecology in organizations is fundamental for the success of knowledge management within the organization. The Ecological Knowledge Management Model will guide the researcher in identifying the impact of knowledge management strategies in Medium-Sized Enterprises.

Introduction to Research Methodology and Design

The research methodology applied in this study is qualitative research. Qualitative research is a social science research method used to collect data by working with non-numerical data and seeks to interpret meaning from the data collected. An exploratory case study was selected for this research because it demonstrates the significance of this study and provides factual evidence to persuade the reader (Rhee et al., 2015). Qualitative research methodology for this research is aimed at understanding the impact of knowledge management in Medium-Sized enterprises. The exploratory case study research design is fundamental to this research because it will demonstrate the significance of this research to the industry (Rhee et al., 2015).

This study will be conducted on Medium-Sized Enterprises. By Implementing a qualitative research method will allow the researcher to analyze Medium-Sized Enterprises, organizational culture, and knowledge management amongst other major concepts in this study. The qualitative research method is applicable for this study because it provides the researcher with qualitative data that will be used to analyze the impact of knowledge management strategies on Medium-Sized Enterprises. The data collection process will characterize the use of research instruments like interviews, reading, and observation. The validity of this research will be determined by the appropriateness of the research instruments applied (Aithal, 2017).

This research will focus on how Medium-Sized Enterprises incorporate these knowledge management strategies into their organizational culture. Case study research design, the in-depth study of a phenomenon method, is pertinent for this study because it requires careful formulation, examination, and listing of assumptions of the research in open-ended problems, (Leung, 2015). The research methodology applied in this study will help identify the impact of knowledge management strategies on Medium-Sized Enterprises and how it affects their competitive capability in the industries that they operate in.

Research Questions


How does organizational culture affect knowledge management within the Medium-Sized Enterprise?


How does investment in knowledge management improve the competitive advantage for the Medium-Sized Enterprise?

Significance of the Study

The findings of this research will contribute to the success of Medium-Sized Enterprises because organizational culture is an essential component in all organizations. This study will aim to identify how organizational culture that promotes knowledge management in Medium-Sized Enterprises can increase competitive advantage. This research is highly significant because the competitive advantage is important to Medium-Sized Enterprises. If organizations generate higher benefits, then the medium-Sized Enterprises could help improve residual value for the same desired value. This will increase the competitive advantage for the Enterprise (Jones et al., 2021).

The data collected in will help evaluate how the organizational culture can be used to improve the competitive advantage of Medium-Sized Enterprises. This study will prepare organizational leaders in dealing with competitive advantage issues that are brought about by an organizational culture that does not support knowledge management in Medium-Sized Enterprises. Also, the study will contribute to the body of knowledge in business administration and organizational leadership and business by investigating how the organizational culture of Medium-Sized Enterprises can be used to increase their competitive advantage. The findings of this study will highlight the aspects of knowledge management that enhance competitive advantage for Medium-Sized Enterprises in their industries. The aspects of knowledge management that will be studied include process, people, content/IT, and strategy. The aspects of knowledge management are vital in determining how knowledge is handled, shared, analyzed, and used to make decisions within organizations.

The study’s purpose is to discover and address the challenges that face Medium-sized Enterprises as they work towards establishing knowledge management systems. Medium-sized enterprises have failed to launch knowledge management systems successfully and this research could be a turning point (Hussain et al., 2021, Mazorodze, & Buckley, 2021). The aim of the study is to highlight how the problems associated with implementing knowledge management systems could be solved by the relevant stakeholders. Solutions could include government interventions or a Medium-size Enterprise commitment to Knowledge Management Systems (Mazorodze & Buckley, 2021). Lastly, research on this topic could provide opportunities for future research by other scholars in the field of organizational culture and strategic management.

This research will also be significant to practice because it will enhance the development of organizational leadership. This study will foster a new understanding of knowledge management in Medium-Sized enterprises, enhance concepts, and add to the body of knowledge. The successful completion of this research will provide organizational leaders in Medium-Sized Enterprises with the knowledge management strategies that will lead to quicker problem-solving, improved organizational agility, better and faster decision making, increased rate of innovation, supported employee growth and development, improved business processes, and better communication (Mazorodze et al., 2019).

Definitions of Key Terms

Medium-Sized Enterprises

Medium-Sized Enterprises are enterprises that employ 250 or fewer employees. These enterprises do not exceed an annual turnover of $50 million (Chen, 2006).

Knowledge Management

Knowledge management is the process of structuring, defining, sharing, and retaining knowledge and employee experience within an organization (Maier et al., 2011).


This research study will focus focused on how Medium-Sized Enterprises incorporate knowledge management in their organizational culture. Knowledge management helps organizations to expand their market share, increase revenues, help with target messaging, create customer specific products, and better organizational advertisements. The statement of the problem for this research is why Medium-Sized Enterprises face lower competitive advantage for their inability to utilize organizational cultural strategies that promote knowledge management. The purpose of this study is to contribute to the success of Medium-Sized enterprises in their specific industries by introducing effective knowledge management strategies in the organizational culture of Medium-Sized enterprises. The theoretical framework Ecological Knowledge Management Theory will guide the development of this research. Chapter 2 of this dissertation will focus on the literature review of this study. The next chapter will entail a discussion on the impact of knowledge management strategies and rationale for lower competitive advantage on medium-sized enterprises.

Chapter 3: Research Method

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Begin with an introduction and restatement of the problem and purpose sentences verbatim.

Provide a brief overview of the contents of this chapter, including a statement that identifies the research methodology and design.

Research Methodology and Design Comment by Northcentral University: Tip: The Academic Success Center has a weekly group session on Writing Research Design. Learn more about this session and find the link to register here.

First begin with a introduction on research methodology.

Next two paragraphs – Discuss Qualitative research methodology. Research – Write – Cite

Conclude by elaborating on qualitative methods appropriateness to your study.

Next paragraph – Discuss Quantitative research methodology. Research -Write and Cite

Conclude by indicating why quantitative research method was inappropriate for your study.

Transition to discussing the 5 qualitative research designs – Case Study, Phenomenology, Narrative Inquiry, Ethnography and Grounded theory.

Paragraph – Describe Case Study – Elaborate on the appropriateness for your study

Separate paragraphs for each qualitative research design. Conclude each paragraph on why they were determined to be less appropriate for your study.

Begin writing here…


Describe the research methodology and design. Elaborate upon their appropriateness in relation to the study problem, purpose,

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