Motivations for the initiation of knowledge management activities in times of routine and emergency

Maayan Nakash, Dan Bouhnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: This research seeks to understand, for the first time, what motivates knowledge-intensive organizations (KIOs) to initiate knowledge management (KM) activities in times of routine and emergency. The COVID-19 pandemic was placed at the center as a case study of an extreme crisis. Design/methodology/approach: Based on the adoption of the qualitative-constructivist paradigm, the study was conducted among 52 KM professionals through in-depth interviews and focus groups. The data were analyzed using a thematic analysis method, according to the principles of the grounded theory approach. Findings: The findings reveal that opportunities and risks are two types of catalysts which accelerate KM efforts in times of routine and emergency respectively. Due to KM’s support of the transition to flexible employment during COVID-19, the authors show that this field experienced real growth and prosperity in the “new normal.” KM initiatives were promoted during the COVID-19 crisis in light of gaps in retention, sharing, accessibility and development of knowledge. Originality/value: Given that knowledge risks are a field with fragmented understanding, the results contribute to understanding the importance of risk management related to knowledge in times of crises and turmoil. The authors call for incorporating this niche into the overall risk management of the organization, while adopting a holistic and long-term perspective of KM. Furthermore, the authors uncover KM’s position in KIOs during the global pandemic. The paper proposes food for thought regarding informal knowledge sharing in virtual environments typical of the “Corona routine”.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAslib Journal of Information Management
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • COVID-19
  • Knowledge management
  • Knowledge risk
  • New normal
  • Risk management


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