Thesis on Knowledge Management on Consulting Firms

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Knowledge management in projects
- a study of small consulting firms
Gustav Pilsmo
Luleå University of Technology
Bachelor thesis
Computer and systems science
Department of Business Administration and Social Sciences
Division of Information Systems Sciences
2010:261 - ISSN: 1402-1773 - ISRN: LTU-CUPP--10/261--SE
Abstract
Title: Knowledge management in projects- A study of small consulting firms Author: Gustav Pilsmo
Background: Knowledge management and how organizations capture the experiences gained in projects is a critical topic for many companies of today in order to gain competitive advantage. Especially consulting firms that are project-based companies has much to gain by considering knowledge management strategies in their organization. Much of the literature has its focus on how companies hiring consultants should do in order to ensure that the knowledge stays in the organization. Little attention has been given to how consulting firms work with knowledge management activities and their acquired knowledge from projects. Knowledge management is an interesting concept since there are no “best-solution” to follow for the companies that want to consider it. Every company exists in its own special context, its own set of employees and clients and hence the definition of knowledge management is different for every company. Small consulting firms make it even more special since the lack of resources they have and the dynamic and flexible nature of small businesses.

Purpose: The purpose of this thesis is to describe and explain how the knowledge management related processes looks like within micro and small consulting-firms. Methodology: The study can be described as deductive, since the study of this thesis is based existing theories on the subject as well as a problem observed in reality. The thesis can furthermore be described as a qualitative study. The empirical information was gathered by performing semi-structured interviews at three small consulting firms. At each of the firms’ interviews were made with someone from the management (CEO/Head of the office) as well as one or two persons working as consultants. Results: The study is considered to show that there is a lack of fixed routines for capturing; spreading and reusing internally acquired knowledge from projects within the studied small consulting firm. The firms are not considered to have an explicit knowledge management procedure and a mapped knowledge management process. But, the firms studied have different ways of capturing (storing) acquired knowledge, such as archives, and spreading the knowledge, such as mentorship. The reuse of old knowledge from previous outcomes or know-how is done in a limited amount.

Key words: knowledge management, knowledge sharing, knowledge, organizational learning and intellectual capital.
Preface
This thesis is a part of my studies in system science at the department of business administration and social science at Luleå University of Technology. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the companies and all the respondents that were interviewed in this study; Crepido Systems AB, Crearum AB and Envima AB. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Also, I would like to thank my tutors Sören Samuelsson and Dan Harnesk and other students in my seminar group for good discussions and feedback on this thesis. Without the love and support from my family this would definitely not have become the thesis it is today.

Thank you all!
Kalmar, 20 of May 2010
Gustav Pilsmo
Table of contents
1 Introduction................................................................................................................... 3 1.1 Background .........................................................................................................................3 1.2 Problem discussion ............................................................................................................3 1.3...
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