The Knowledge‑Based Foundations of Organisational Performance Improvements: An Action Research Approach


  • Giovanni Schiuma
  • Daniela Carlucci


knowledge assets, new product development, performance improvement, knowledge assets management, action research.


The strategic and management literature grounded on the resource and knowledge based view of the firm, has widely outlined the importance of knowledge assets in a company’s value creation. However, despite acknowledgment of the strategic relevance of knowledge assets and their management for driving organizational performance improvement, there is still a lack of suitable approaches to disentangle, explain and assess how knowledge assets support the achievement of a company’s strategic outcomes. The paper investigates the role and relevance of knowledge assets in a company’s performance improvement and provides some approaches, tools and managerial suggestions regarding the leveraging knowledge assets as value drivers for improving organisational performance. Methodology: The study is based on action research methodology. Findings: This paper highlights the role and relevance of knowledge assets as critical factors to manage for improving a company’s performance. In particular, integrating the results of an action research project with the main insights from a literature review, the paper provides some approaches, tools and managerial suggestions mainly regarding: i) the identification and mapping of knowledge assets to be managed in order to improve performances; ii) the choice and the design of knowledge assets management initiatives; iii) the evaluation of the performance improvement gained by the implementation of knowledge assets management initiatives. Research limitations: The paper investigates the leveraging knowledge assets for a company’s performance improvement in a specific context of analysis, i.e. the New Product Development (NPD) process. In order to have a more holistic view of the interactions between knowledge assets and company’s value creation mechanisms, an extension of the investigation to other organisational processes is required. Moreover, to generalise the research’s results, several applications in different industries and the use of different research methodologies are required. Practical implications: The paper, on the basis of theoretical and empirical insights, provides four managerial practices which managers might use in order to design and implement knowledge assets management initiatives aimed to support the improvement of company’s performances. Originality/value: The paper provides more light on how knowledge assets and complementarities among them enhance organization’s performances and provides approaches, tools and managerial suggestions for supporting managers in developing and leveraging knowledge assets. Especially the proposed approaches and tools intended to provide managers with information to assist them to allocate their managerial efforts to the knowledge assets with significant impact on performance.



1 Nov 2010