University of Udine
Macquarie University Sydney, Australia
University of Udine
About the Special Issue
The public sector is currently undergoing major challenges internationally (Tizard, 2012). Several well-developed economies, especially in Europe, are facing austerity problems coupled with a great demand for public services, due to an aging population, unemployment, and budget restrictions. Additionally, emerging countries are facing the need to drive their economies toward knowledge-based models. Therefore, knowledge management in the public sector represents a central topic for developed and emerging economies.
Previous studies on the public sector focus on applying knowledge management tools and techniques in areas like education, healthcare, social policies, the military, traditional government systems, and public transport (Massaro et al., 2015). In education, research is investigating e-courses, ways to enhance the third mission of universities, and keeping alumni involved in producing knowledge (Elia et al., 2015). In healthcare and social systems, e-tools are providing new opportunities to deliver traditional services such as telemedicine (Cegarra-Navarro et al., 2012; Cruz-Cunha et al., 2013). Visual knowledge practices allow effective and timely use of all available and relevant knowledge, and are offering new ways to fight crime in the police and military sector (Eppler and Pfister, 2014). Communities of practices are fostering new ways for multiple levels of government to collaborate (Mabery et al., 2013). Similarly, crowdsourcing can be used to acquire and exploit knowledge to profile unscheduled transport networks for the design of efficient routes for public transport trips (Cairo et al., 2015). All in all, these studies provide examples of how knowledge management has the potential to influence and improve public organisations, provide new ways to deliver services, and transform the core operations of public organisations.
The public sector represents a specific context, and the research findings and practices that work in the private sector rarely can be directly translated (Massaro et al., 2015). Thus, managers cannot import knowledge management tools and models from private companies without considering the unique setting of the public sector (UNPAN, 2003, p. 1). Political influences, such as specific labor laws, can make knowledge management more difficult (Amayah, 2013, p. 456; Gau, 2011, p. 2). This presents an opportunity to explore a specific research agenda regarding how knowledge management practice pertains to public sector organisations.
From a research perspective, Massaro et al. (2015) state that knowledge management research in the public sector requires more attention due to the imbalance between authors and organisations: a limited number of specialised authors are investigating many municipalities, super-regional entities, and super-national organisations. Therefore, the opportunities for future research are rich. This special issue aims to synthesize previous research, extend it to less investigated organisations and understand the usefulness of knowledge management in the context-specific field of the public sector. Following this premise, the topics covered in the special issue include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Knowledge management and innovation in the public sector
• Knowledge sharing in the public sector
• Knowledge management in the public sector in emerging economies
• Knowledge management in super-national entities (e.g. UN, NATO, etc.)
• Knowledge management in municipalities
• Knowledge strategy in the public sector and the impact of intellectual capital on university stakeholders
• Knowledge management and business models in the public sector
• Knowledge transfer from the public to the private sector
• Knowledge management in data-driven society
• Online communities of practice in e-government
• Digital business and the public sector
February, 28th, 2018