Managing Knowledge for Innovation to Gain Competitiveness in Higher Education: A Review

Hang-Thanh Nguyen, Steven Pattinson, Jonathan M. Scott

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Knowledge management (KM) is the process of capturing, distributing, and using organizational knowledge effectively. It has become a crucial process for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) seeking to implement innovations effectively to improve their competitiveness. This paper describes the purpose, subject, and outcome of a literature review focusing on the research question: “In what way does knowledge management in HEIs’ innovation process create competitive advantage for them?” Given that the relationship between knowledge management and innovation, knowledge management and competitiveness, and innovation and competitiveness is fragmented – with a dearth of literature written about the inter-relationships between these three concepts, especially in the Higher Education (HE) sector – we contend that it is both timely and apposite to undertake a review of the extant literature in this area. As a result, we have gained a comprehensive, transparent, and non-biased understanding of this theme. Drawing on a review of 52 articles, a proliferation of studies has been revealed identifying relationships between knowledge management and innovation and competitiveness or HE but mostly relate to open innovation (about knowledge creation and transfer from universities to external stakeholders, especially in the corporate sector), considering the role of universities as knowledge producing centres; and external innovation (how external innovation affects knowledge management in universities). However, relatively little has been written about the role of managing knowledge in HEIs’ innovation processes that could create competitive advantage for them. We argue that these key concepts require clarification in the competitive advantage. The topics of knowledge management and innovation are discussed in the context of HEI context and call for a new research agenda in this underdeveloped field. The authors’ proposed future research involves further in-depth analysis of the literature, identifying and refining the research gap where this study could contribute, and designing a conceptual model for future empirical application.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 4th International Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ICIE 2016)
EditorsKenneth A. Grant, Sean Wise
Place of PublicationToronto
PublisherCurran Associates, Inc
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9781910810866, 9781510837263
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event4th International Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship 2016 - The Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
Duration: 28 Apr 201629 Apr 2016
Conference number: 4


Conference4th International Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship 2016
Abbreviated titleICIE16
Internet address


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