Knowledge Management in start-up organisations: A case study
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KM is a very popular topic among researchers and management practitioners. Despite this, research on KM in the context of start-up companies is limited. This causes a problem since start-up firms have quite the opposite characteristics of Multi National Companies (MNCs), which most of the existing research is based on. Thus, one cannot automatically assume that the existing KM understanding is applicable in the context of start-up firms. However, practicing KM in a good way is equally important for start-up firms as they also compete in the same knowledge economy as other companies. This thesis contributes in increasing the understanding of KM in start-up companies by comparing the existing literature regarding KM in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) with empirical findings from a case study on D-MAX, a high-tech start-up company. Special attention is given to the role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), as this in particular has received little attention in this context. Special attention is also given to the role of incubation centres, as this is a typical environment for start-up companies, and thus may have implications for its KM practices. Possible proxy descriptions of an incubation centre found in the literature, such as cluster theory and Communities of Practice (CoP), will be compared with empirical findings from a case study of the FoE Incubation Centre, where D-MAX resides. The result of the analysis to a large extent supports the view given in the literature. However, the comparison also reveal some contradictions and in several cases show that the literature descriptions are not detailed enough as it does not take into account specific conditions. Based on the analysis, I have also suggested changes that could improve the KM practices in D-MAX and proposed implications for the management of start-up firms as well as management of incubation centres.