Knowledge retention: Minimizing organizational business loss

Moria Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Purpose: Knowledge retention is becoming a main challenge in many countries, as knowledge becomes a main asset of organizations. The research questions the challenge of how can organizations minimize the loss of important knowledge while experiencing high levels of retiree? The research aims to suggest a framework for knowledge retention initiatives in organizations. Design/methodology/approach: The research methodology is multi-case research. The unit of analysis is organization (eight organizations analyzed, overall more than 30 retiree knowledge retention mini projects). Data linkage to the propositions and method of interpretation - explanation building technique. Findings: This research suggests that successful knowledge retention can be achieved in three primary stages: defining scope; documenting (planning and implementation); and integrating knowledge back into the organization. Special care must be dedicated throughout the process to: retaining best practices and unexpected situations; structuring the process of knowledge retention; structuring retained documentation. Research limitations/implications: Academic implications are two-fold. First, it suggests that assessment projects, which estimate knowledge loss risk, and described in most academic researches, should be eliminated in knowledge retention models; second, research should continue, developing more models regarding detailed planning and implementation stages, as initiated in Hofer-Alfeis DeLong and here. Further research should be conducted in order to discover how effective the suggested methods are in retrospect (after years, and not only after months). Practical implications: Business implications do exist. The case studies described, using the proposed framework, show that knowledge retention is not only important, but also applicable. Structuring the process and results, as described above, may provide organizations with guidelines how to conduct such projects. Originality/value: Its value is in changing the suggested known frameworks for knowledge retention, enabling more effective and efficient knowledge retention, and therefore less knowledge loss in organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)582-600
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Knowledge Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Information transfer
  • Knowledge continuity
  • Knowledge management
  • Knowledge workers


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