Identifying key research challenges in investigating knowledge optimization strategies in perishable food chains
Bamgboje-Ayodele, A and Ellis, L and Turner, P, Identifying key research challenges in investigating knowledge optimization strategies in perishable food chains, Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management And Organisational Learning (ICICKM 2014), 6-7 November, Sydney, Australia, pp. 48-56. ISSN 2048-9811 (2014) [Refereed Conference Paper]
Copyright 2014 Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited
Knowledge Management (KM) has traditionally been focused on supporting competitive advantage within firms rather than between firms in supply chains. In the perishable food industry, a range of factors including changing consumer expectations, the need to meet higher quality and safety standards and lower unit costs for track and trace technologies have re-focused attention on the potentials of knowledge optimization along the supply chain. To date however, there remains limited academic research into how to categorize these knowledge optimization strategies and whether these strategies extend into consideration of end-consumers’ knowledge, preferences and behaviours. This paper presents the results of a targeted review of literature on knowledge optimization strategies along supply chains. The papers reviewed are classified into four categories and evidence gaps identified in relation to conducting research in perishable food chains. The search strategy targeted only ProQuest and Web of Science databases for peer reviewed papers in English published during the 2003-2013 period. 51 articles were identified and following exclusion criteria 20 were selected for review. The classification of the papers reviewed highlights the following: Existing knowledge optimization constructs variously explore the importance of new technology, the influence of power play along the chain, the impact of firm level absorptive capacity, the relational orientation to other firms and contractual arrangements; Environmental uncertainties such as market and regulatory structures act as mediating factors affecting the effectiveness of the knowledge optimization strategies listed in (1) above; The strength of the knowledge sharing along the chain, comprised of factors such as levels of trust, participation, communication and communities of interest, acts as environmental facilitators of effective knowledge optimization along the supply chain. While sense-making is a concept relevant to knowledge management within firm boundaries, there is a lack of evidence of its use to investigate knowledge optimization along the chain. The attributes of perishable food chains suggest that this concept may prove useful and worthy of investigation along food chains. This is particularly relevant for extending the research lens to accommodate dynamic and changing consumer food preferences. Based on this targeted review, this paper identifies and articulates research questions for the further investigation of knowledge optimization strategies within perishable food chains. This paper is part of a broader program of research investigating the role of technologies in supporting knowledge optimization within perishable food chains between Australia and Asia.