Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are major contributors to economies. The construction industry sector is one of the largest contributors towards Australian GDP. This is a sector that has many small businesses who are required to share knowledge as part of their collaboration with business partners and suppliers. In some instances, this necessitates the protection of organizational knowledge to help construction SMEs to sustain competitive advantage and/or inhibit the leakage and spillover of critical knowledge outside the business. However, SMEs in ‘low-tech sectors (such as the construction sector) do not typically pay much attention to the implementation of knowledge protection (KP) strategies. Thus, this study has identified factors that potentially influence KP adoption in construction SMEs, and the types of KP strategies they adopt. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with four SMEs in a metropolitan area of Australia. An important result of the study is the identification of the extent of KP strategies and their enablers and barriers. Various organizational factors (sector [in this case, construction], location, age, organisational structure) and SMEs characteristics (size, owner/manager characteristics, flexibility, relationships) are identified that can potentially influence the adoption of KP strategies in construction SMEs. The results suggest that size, age, flexibility, relationships and organisation structure impact KP adoption, as well as owner/manager characteristics which moderately impacts KP adoption. SMEs in general are inclined towards the implementation of informal and semi-formal protection methods, mostly due to the scarcity of the resources available to them.
Dhindsa, Mandeep, "Factors influencing the adoption of knowledge protection strategies by Australian SMEs in the Construction sector" (2022). CONF-IRM 2022 Proceedings. 13.