Review on the KM Applications in Public Organisations

Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management.

Publication Details

European Conference of Knowledge Management. Belfast, 2016


Today's public organisations are confronted with considerable challenges to operate within the dynamic knowledge economy and continuously adapt to shifts in societal needs, behaviour, and expectations. To keep pace with global trends and new public demands, the public sector organisations have to start to embrace a new paradigm that places the management of intangible assets at the core of their strategies. Recognising the vital role of knowledge resources in driving organisations can lead to better performance. The idiosyncratic nature of governmental institutions creates peculiar barriers for attempts to manage knowledge within the public domain. Public organisations tend to be highly bureaucratic and cloistered in rigid hierarchies hence requiring KM (KM) strategies that are able to address their specific context and equally consider their unique cultural and legal implications. The purpose of this paper is to present an inclusive literature review of the current state of KM research in the public sector with an aim of ascertaining critical issues. An extensive review collated KM articles that have interest in public organisations during the last fifteen years. Initial findings of this research indicate that KM in the public sector is relatively under-researched compared with its private sector counterpart. There is an apparent urge for attention to address an existing theory-practice gap. Despite the abundance of case studies within the literature, more research efforts are required towards the development of applied frameworks to support public KM initiatives. Inducing culture changes in public organisations and introducing mechanisms of accountability have also been revealed as imperative issues of importance in the context of KM. From an application perspective, most studies have been conducted within the education and healthcare organisations, with a dearth of research in certain important government departments such as the Police and Army forces.

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