Knowledge management towards innovation: An empirical study of the Medical Device Industry

Alejandro de Santiago Hernandez

Student thesis: Master thesis


Knowledge assets and their effective management have become a popular topic to study as a method to obtain competitive advantage. Simultaneously, an increasing competition in global markets is forcing organizations to innovate in a continuous basis, which is increasing more than ever the pressure on the innovation practices. In this sense, this study aims to understand the effect that knowledge management can cause in firms’ innovation process. However, literature suggests that the mere existence of an effective knowledge management strategy does not guarantee sustained performance. Hence, there are two more elements included in the theoretical framework and combined with knowledge management topic. These elements are the organizational capabilities and the organizational learning. In such way, organizational capabilities refer to both organizational and dynamic capabilities, meaning the routine and daily activities and the ability to shape such routines. In addition, organizational learning relates to the ability of the firms to learn and adapt to market changes both by exploration and exploitation approach. In order to answer the research question, the concepts introduced above have been applied to the medical device industry, which most important characteristics have been discussed and then applied to a theoretical framework created by the author. The findings show that there is no specific element of the exposed framework that can solely support sustained performance. Medical device firms must combine knowledge management related activities and integrate such resources in the organizational capabilities. By doing so, the firms increase both their technological and marketing capability. By doing so, medical device firms are able to expertise and obtain knowledge resources from new technologies, at the same time that they acquire inputs from outside the firms boundaries, especially from end-users, in order to identify not only current but also future needs. Furthermore, regulation and patent knowledge must also be acquired and then, integrated in the innovation process at the precise stage, so they can also support the innovation practice. In this sense, this study produces remarkable results that can be investigated in further researches.

EducationsMSocSc in Service Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages69