Mapping knowledge management research: a bibliometric overview

    Shashi Affiliation
    ; Piera Centobelli Affiliation
    ; Roberto Cerchione Affiliation
    ; Jose M. Merigo Affiliation


In recent years, knowledge management (KM) has consistently attained considerably growing research attention. Consequently, several literature reviews have been performed addressing different topic areas of KM. This paper seeks to present a comprehensive bibliometric and network analysis on KM to understand its development from the perspective of academic communities. Subsequently, it seeks to identify the structure of associations between prior and current themes, predict emerging trends and offer a longitudinal perspective on KM research. This study used web of science database and the initial sample was trimmed down by considering only the articles contributing to KM literature, and further 8,721 KM papers published in the last 30 years were systematically evaluated. The descriptive statistics and science mapping methods employing co-citation analysis were performed with VOSviewer software. In the descriptive analysis, we have analysed publication trends over time, geographical localization of the contributing institutions, journals, most prolific authors, top-performing institutions and most cited articles. Science mapping analysis is based on co-word analysis and co-citations analysis, namely articles’ co-citations and authors’ co-citations. The main findings of this paper will help researchers and academicians to develop knowledge in a specific sub-field by analysing the research outcomes of the papers included in the body of literature.

First published online 28 December 2021

Keyword : knowledge management, Web of Science, bibliometric analysis, network analysis, VOSviewer

How to Cite
Shashi, Centobelli, P., Cerchione, R., & Merigo, J. M. (2022). Mapping knowledge management research: a bibliometric overview. Technological and Economic Development of Economy, 28(1), 239–267.
Published in Issue
Jan 12, 2022
Abstract Views
PDF Downloads
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Abbas, J., & Sağsan, M. (2019). Impact of knowledge management practices on green innovation and corporate sustainable development: A struc-tural analysis. Journal of Cleaner Production, 229, 611–620.

Alavi, M., & Leidner, D. E. (2001). Knowledge management and knowledge management systems: Conceptual foundations and research issues. MIS Quarterly, 25(1), 107–136.

Alexandru, V. A., Bolisani, E., Andrei, A. G., Cegarra-Navarro, J. G., Martínez Martínez, A., Paiola, M., Scarso, E., Vătămănescu, E.-M., & Zieba, M. (2019). Knowledge management approaches of small and medium-sized firms: A cluster analysis. Kybernetes, 49(1), 73–87.

Argote, L., & Ingram, P. (2000). Knowledge transfer: A basis for competitive advantage in firms. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 82(1), 150–169.

Argote, L., McEvily, B., & Reagans, R. (2003). Managing knowledge in organizations: An integrative framework and review of emerging themes. Management Science, 49(4), 571–582.

Asiaei, K., & Bontis, N. (2019). Translating knowledge management into performance: The role of performance measurement systems. Manage-ment Research Review, 43(1), 113–132.

Asrar, M., & Anwar, S. (2016). A systematic review of knowledge management and knowledge sharing: Trends, issues, and challenges. Cogent Business & Management, 3(1), 1–17.

Barney, J. B. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17(1), 99–120.

Bock, G. W., Zmud, R. W., Kim, Y. G., & Lee, J. N. (2005). Behavioral intention formation in knowledge sharing: Examining the roles of extrinsic motivators, social-psychological factors, and organizational climate. MIS Quarterly, 29(1), 87–111.

Brown, J. S., & Duguid, P. (1991). Organizational learning and communities-of-practice: Toward a unified view of working, learning, and innova-tion. Organization Science, 2(1), 40–57.

Brown, J. S., & Duguid, P. (2001). Knowledge and organization: A social-practice perspective. Organization Science, 12(2), 198–213.

Buckley, P. J., & Carter, M. J. (1999). Managing cross-border complementary knowledge. International Studies of Management and Organiza-tion, 29(1), 80–104.

Buckova, B. (2017). Corporate culture as an important factor in the implementation of knowledge management. AD ALTA: Journal of Interdisci-plinary Research, 7(2), 36–39.

Buenstorf, G., & Costa, C. (2018). Drivers of spin-off performance in industry clusters: Embodied knowledge or embedded firms? Research Poli-cy, 47(3), 663–673.

Cabrera, A., & Cabrera, E. F. (2002). Knowledge-sharing dilemmas. Organization Studies, 23(5), 687–710.

Cabrera, A., Collins, W. C., & Salgado, J. F. (2006). Determinants of individual engagement in knowledge sharing. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 17(2), 245–264.

Cabrera, E. F., & Cabrera, A. (2005). Fostering knowledge sharing through people management practices. International Journal of Human Re-source Management, 16(5), 720–735.

Cardoni, A., Zanin, F., Corazza, G., & Paradisi, A. (2020). Knowledge management and performance measurement systems for SMEs’ economic sustainability. Sustainability (Switzerland), 12(7), 2594.

Castagna, F., Centobelli, P., Cerchione, R., Esposito, E., Oropallo, E., & Passaro, R. (2020). Customer knowledge management in SMEs facing digital transformation. Sustainability, 12(9), 3899.

Centobelli, P., Cerchione, R., Esposito, E., & Shashi. (2019). The mediating role of knowledge exploration and exploitation for the development of an entrepreneurial university. Management Decision, 57(12), 3301–3320.

Cerchione, R., Centobelli, P., Zerbino, P., & Anand, A. (2020). Back to the future of Knowledge Management Systems off the beaten paths. Man-agement Decision, 58(9), 1953–1984.

Chai, K., & Xiao, X. (2012). Understanding design research: A bibliometric analysis of design studies (1996–2010). Design Studies, 33(1), 24–43.

Chiu, C. M., Hsu, M. H., & Wang, E. T. (2006). Understanding knowledge sharing in virtual communities: An integration of social capital and social cognitive theories. Decision Support Systems, 42(3), 1872–1888.

Cohen, W. M., & Levinthal, D. A. (1990). Absorptive capacity: A new perspective on learning and innovation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 35(1), 128–152.

Cook, S. D., & Brown, J. S. (1999). Bridging epistemologies: The generative dance between organizational knowledge and organizational know-ing. Organization Science, 10(4), 381–400.

Cummings, J. N. (2004). Work groups, structural diversity, and knowledge sharing in a global organization. Management Science, 50(3), 352–364.

Davenport, T. H., De Long, D. W., & Beers, M. C. (1998). Successful knowledge management projects. Sloan Management Review, 39(2), 43–57.

Davenport, T. H., & Klahr, P. (1998). Managing customer support knowledge. California Management Review, 40(3), 195–208.

Davenport, T. H., & Prusak, L. (1998). Working knowledge: How organizations manage what they know. Harvard Business Press.

De Long, D. W., & Fahey, L. (2000). Diagnosing cultural barriers to knowledge management. Academy of Management Perspectives, 14(4), 113–127.

Durst, S., Hinteregger, C., & Zieba, M. (2019). The linkage between knowledge risk management and organizational performance. Journal of Business Research, 105, 1–10.

Dyer, J. H., & Nobeoka, K. (2000). Creating and managing a high‐performance knowledge‐sharing network: The Toyota case. Strategic Manage-ment Journal, 21(3), 345–367. 3.0.CO;2-N><345::AID-SMJ96>3.0.CO;2-N

Dyer, J. H., & Singh, H. (1998). The relational view: Cooperative strategy and sources of interorganizational competitive advantage. Academy of Management Review, 23(4), 660–679.

Endres, H., Helm, R., & Dowling, M. (2020). Linking the types of market knowledge sourcing with sensing capability and revenue growth: Evi-dence from industrial firms. Industrial Marketing Management, 90, 30–43.

Gold, A. H., Malhotra, A., & Segars, A. H. (2001). Knowledge management: An organizational capabilities perspective. Journal of Management Information Systems, 18(1), 185–214.

Grant, R. M. (1996). Prospering in dynamically-competitive environments: Organizational capability as knowledge integration. Organization Sci-ence, 7(4), 375–387.

Gupta, A. K., & Govindarajan, V. (2000a). Knowledge flows within multinational corporations. Strategic Management Journal, 21(4), 473–496. 3.0.CO;2-I><473::AID-SMJ84>3.0.CO;2-I

Gupta, A. K., & Govindarajan, V. (2000b). Knowledge management’s social dimension: Lessons from Nucor Steel. Sloan Management Review, 42(1), 71.

Hamel, G. (1991). Competition for competence and interpartner learning within international strategic alliances. Strategic Management Journal, 12(S1), 83–103.

Hansen, M. T. (1999). The search-transfer problem: The role of weak ties in sharing knowledge across organization subunits. Administrative Sci-ence Quarterly, 44(1), 82–111.

Hansen, M. T. (2002). Knowledge networks: Explaining effective knowledge sharing in multiunit companies. Organization Science, 13(3), 232–248.

Hendriks, P. (1999). Why share knowledge? The influence of ICT on the motivation for knowledge sharing. Knowledge & Process Management, 6, 91–100. 3.0.CO;2-M><91::AID-KPM54>3.0.CO;2-M

Holsapple, C. W. (2005). The inseparability of modern knowledge management and computer-based technology. Journal of Knowledge Manage-ment, 9(1), 42–52.

Hsu, M. H., Ju, T. L., Yen, C. H., & Chang, C. M. (2007). Knowledge sharing behavior in virtual communities: The relationship between trust, self-efficacy, and outcome expectations. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 65(2), 153–169.

Huber, G. P. (1991). Organizational learning: The contributing processes and the literatures. Organization Science, 2(1), 88–115.

Inkinen, H. (2016). Review of empirical research on knowledge management practices and firm performance. Journal of Knowledge Management, 20(2), 230–257.

Inkpen, A. C., & Tsang, E. W. (2005). Social capital, networks, and knowledge transfer. Academy of Management Review, 30(1), 146–165.

Ipe, M. (2003). Knowledge sharing in organizations: A conceptual framework. Human Resource Development Review, 2(4), 337–359.

Jiang, J., Woosnam, K. M., & Draper, J. (2014). Structural elements of articles and diachronous citation analysis among top-ranking tourism jour-nals (1990–2010). Tourism Management Perspectives, 12, 48–56.

Kaklauskas, A., & Kanapeckiene, L. (2005). Knozwledge management and “BRITA in PuBs” project [Žinių valdymas ir “BRITA in PuBs” pro-jektas]. Technological and Economic Development of Economy, 11(2), 78–86.

Kankanhalli, A., Tan, B. C., & Wei, K. K. (2005). Contributing knowledge to electronic knowledge repositories: An empirical investigation. MIS Quarterly, 29(1), 113–143.

Kogut, B., & Zander, U. (1992). Knowledge of the firm, combinative capabilities, and the replication of technology. Organization Science, 3(3), 383–397.

Kogut, B., & Zander, U. (1993). Knowledge of the firm and the evolutionary theory of the multinational corporation. Journal of International Busi-ness Studies, 24(4), 625–645.

Kogut, B., & Zander, U. (1996). What firms do? Coordination, identity, and learning. Organization Science, 7(5), 502–518.

Kuah, C. T., & Wong, K. Y. (2011). Knowledge management performance measurement: A review. African Journal of Business Management, 5(15), 6021–6027.

Lane, P. J., & Lubatkin, M. (1998). Relative absorptive capacity and interorganizational learning. Strategic Management Journal, 19(5), 461–477. 3.0.CO;2-L><461::AID-SMJ953>3.0.CO;2-L

Lee, H., & Choi, B. (2003). Knowledge management enablers, processes, and organizational performance: An integrative view and empirical ex-amination. Journal of Management Information Systems, 20(1), 179–228.

Leonard-Barton, D. (1991). The factory as a learning laboratory (Harvard Business School Working Paper, 92-023).

Levin, D. Z., & Cross, R. (2004). The strength of weak ties you can trust: The mediating role of trust in effective knowledge transfer. Management Science, 50(11), 1477–1490.

Lin, H. F. (2007a). A stage model of knowledge management: an empirical investigation of process and effectiveness. Journal of Information Sci-ence, 33(6), 643–659.

Lin, H. (2007b). Knowledge sharing and firm innovation capability: an empirical study. International Journal of Manpower, 28(3/4), 315–332.

Lin, Y. C., & Ha, N.-H. (2015). The framework for KM implementation in product and service oriented SMEs: Evidence from field studies in Taiwan. Sustainability, 7(3), 2980–3000.

Lönnqvist, A. (2017). Embedded knowledge management: Towards improved managerial relevance. Knowledge Management Research and Prac-tice, 15(2), 184–191.

López-Torres, G. C., Garza-Reyes, J. A., Maldonado-Guzmán, G., Kumar, V., Rocha-Lona, L., & Cherrafi, A. (2019). Knowledge management for sustainability in operations. Production Planning and Control, 30(10–12), 813–826.

Maghssudipour, A., Lazzeretti, L., & Capone, F. (2020). The role of multiple ties in knowledge networks: Complementarity in the Montefalco wine cluster. Industrial Marketing Management, 90, 667–678.

March, J. G. (1991). Exploration and exploitation in organizational learning. Organization Science, 2(1), 71–87.

Mariani, M., & Borghi, M. (2019). Industry 4.0: A bibliometric review of its managerial intellectual structure and potential evolution in the service industries. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 149, 119752.

McCain, K. W. (1990). Mapping authors in intellectual space: A technical overview. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 41, 433–443. 3.0.CO;2-Q><433::AID-ASI11>3.0.CO;2-Q

McDermott, R., & O’Dell, C. (2001). Overcoming cultural barriers to sharing knowledge. Journal of Knowledge Management, 5(1), 76–85.

Merigó, J. M., Pedrycz, W., Weber, R., & de la Sotta, C. (2018). Fifty years of information sciences: A bibliometric overview. Information Scienc-es, 432, 245–268.

Miklosik, A., Evans, N., Hasprova, M., & Lipianska, J. (2019). Reflection of embedded knowledge culture in communications of Australian com-panies. Knowledge Management Research and Practice, 17(2), 172–181.

Mowery, D. C., Oxley, J. E., & Silverman, B. S. (1996). Strategic alliances and interfirm knowledge transfer. Strategic Management Journal, 17(S2), 77–91.

Mulet-Forteza, C., Genovart-Balaguer, J., Mauleon-Mendez, E., & Merigó, J. M. (2019). A bibliometric research in the tourism, leisure and hospi-tality fields. Journal of Business Research, 101, 819–827.

Nahapiet, J., & Ghoshal, S. (1998). Social capital, intellectual capital, and the organizational advantage. Academy of Management Review, 23(2), 242–266.

Nelson, R. R., & Winter, S. G. (1982). An evolutionary theory of economic change. Belknap Press, Cambridge.

Neves, S. M., & Da Silva, C. E. S. (2016). Risk management applied to Software development projects in incubated technology-based companies: Literature review, classification, and analysis. Gestao e Producao, 23(4), 798–814.

Nonaka, I. (1991). The knowledge creating company. Harvard Business Review, 69(6), 96–104.

Nonaka, I. (1994). A dynamic theory of organizational knowledge creation. Organization Science, 5(1), 14–37.

Nonaka, I., & Konno, N. (1998). The concept of “Ba”: Building a foundation for knowledge creation. California Management Review, 40(3), 40–54.

Nonaka, I., & Takeuchi, H. (1995). The knowledge-creating company: How Japanese companies create the dynamics of innovation. Oxford Uni-versity Press.

Nonaka, I., Toyama, R., & Konno, N. (2000). SECI, Ba and leadership: A unified model of dynamic knowledge creation. Long Range Planning, 33(1), 5–34.

O’Dell, C., & Grayson, C. (1998). If only we knew what we know: Identification and transfer of internal best practices. California Management Review, 40, 154–174.

Osterloh, M., & Frey, B. S. (2000). Motivation, knowledge transfer, and organizational forms. Organization Science, 11(5), 538–550.

Polanyi, M (1958). Personal knowledge: Towards a post-critical philosophy. University of Chicago Press.

Polanyi, M. (1966). The tacit dimension. Doubleday.

Powell, W. W., Koput, K. W., & Smith-Doerr, L. (1996). Interorganizational collaboration and the locus of innovation: Networks of learning in biotechnology. Administrative Science Quarterly, 41(1), 116–145.

Raudeliūnienė, J., Davidavičienė, V., & Petrusevičius, R. (2018). Factors influencing knowledge retention process: Case of Lithuanian armed forc-es. Technological and Economic Development of Economy, 24(3), 1104–1124.

Reagans, R., & McEvily, B. (2003). Network structure and knowledge transfer: The effects of cohesion and range. Administrative Science Quar-terly, 48(2), 240–267.

Riege, A. (2005). Three‐dozen knowledge‐sharing barriers managers must consider. Journal of Knowledge Management, 9(3), 18–35.

Simonin, B. L. (1999). Ambiguity and the process of knowledge transfer in strategic alliances. Strategic Management Journal, 20(7), 595–623. 3.0.CO;2-5><595::AID-SMJ47>3.0.CO;2-5

Small, H. (1973). Co-citation in the scientific literature: A new measure of the relationship between two documents. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 24, 265–269.

Spender, J. C. (1996). Making knowledge the basis of a dynamic theory of the firm. Strategic Management Journal, 17(S2), 45–62.

Sulistio, E. R., & Dianawati, W. (2020). Environmental innovation as mediation: Knowledge management and firm performance. International Journal of Innovation, Creativity and Change, 13(4), 592–609.

Szulanski, G. (1996). Exploring internal stickiness: Impediments to the transfer of best practice within the firm. Strategic Management Journal, 17(S2), 27–43.

Szulanski, G. (2000). The process of knowledge transfer: A diachronic analysis of stickiness. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Pro-cesses, 82(1), 9–27.

Teece, D. J., Pisano, G., & Shuen, A. (1997). Dynamic capabilities and strategic management. Strategic Management Journal, 18(7), 509–533. 3.0.CO;2-Z><509::AID-SMJ882>3.0.CO;2-Z

Trujillo, C. M., & Long, T. M. (2018). Document co-citation analysis to enhance transdisciplinary research. Science Advances, 4(1), e1701130.

Tsai, A. (2016). The effects of innovation by inter-organizational knowledge management. Information Development, 32(5), 1402–1416.

Tsai, W. (2001). Knowledge transfer in intraorganizational networks: Effects of network position and absorptive capacity on business unit innova-tion and performance. Academy of Management Journal, 44(5), 996–1004.

Tsai, W., & Ghoshal, S. (1998). Social capital and value creation: The role of intrafirm networks. Academy of Management Journal, 41(4), 464–476.

Uzzi, B. (1997). Social structure and competition in interfirm networks: The paradox of embeddedness. Administrative Science Quarterly, 42(1), 35–67.

Van Den Hooff, B., & De Ridder, J. A. (2004). Knowledge sharing in context: The influence of organizational commitment, communication climate and CMC use on knowledge sharing. Journal of Knowledge Management, 8(6), 117–130.

Van den Hooff, B., & van Weenen, F. L. (2004). Committed to share: Commitment and CMC use as antecedents of knowledge sharing. Knowledge Process Management, 11(1), 13–24.

Van Eck, N. J., & Waltman, L. (2014). Visualizing bibliometric networks. In Y. Ding, R. Rousseau, & D. Wolfram (Eds.), Measuring scholarly impact: Methods and practice. Springer.

Von Krogh, G. (1998). Care in knowledge creation. California Management Review, 3, 133–153.

Wang, Q., & Waltman, L. (2016). Large-scale analysis of the accuracy of the journal classification systems of Web of Science and Scopus. Journal of Informetrics, 10(2), 347–364.

Wang, S., & Noe, R. A. (2010). Knowledge sharing: A review and directions for future research. Human Resource Management Review, 20(2), 115–131.

Wasko, M. M., & Faraj, S. (2000). It is what one does: Why people participate and help others in electronic communities of practice. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 9(2–3), 155–173.

Wasko, M. M., & Faraj, S. (2005). Why should I share? Examining social capital and knowledge contribution in electronic networks of practice. MIS Quarterly, 29(1), 35–57.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning and identity. Cambridge University Press.

Wernerfelt, B. (1984). A resource-based view of the firm. Strategic Management Journal, 5(2), 171–180.

Yli-Renko, H., Autio, E., & Sapienza, H. J. (2001). Social capital, knowledge acquisition, and knowledge exploitation in young technology-based firms. Strategic Management Journal, 22(6–7), 587–613.

Zack, M. H. (1999). Developing a knowledge strategy. California Management Review, 41(3), 125–145.

Zahra, S. A., & George, G. (2002). Absorptive capacity: A review, reconceptualization, and extension. Academy of Management Review, 27(2), 185–203.

Zander, U., & Kogut, B. (1995). Knowledge and the speed of the transfer and imitation of organizational capabilities: An empirical test. Organiza-tion Science, 6(1), 76–92.

Zhang, J., Wu, W. P., & Chen, R. (2018). Leveraging channel management capability for knowledge transfer in international joint ventures in an emerging market: A moderated mediation model. Industrial Marketing Management, 75, 173–183.