Responding to crisis through strategic knowledge management

Duncan Shaw*, Matthew Hall, John S. Edwards, Brad Baker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - Many managers would like to take a strategic approach to preparing the organisation to avoid impending crisis but instead find themselves fire-fighting to mitigate its impact. This paper seeks to examine an organisation which made major strategic changes in order to respond to the full effect of a crisis which would be realised over a two to three year period. At the root of these changes was a strategic approach to managing knowledge. The paper's purpose is to reflect on managers' views of the impact this strategy had on preparing for the crisis and explore what happened in the organisation during and after the crisis. Design/methodology/approach - The paper examines a case-study of a financial services organisation which faced the crisis of its impending dissolution. The paper draws upon observations of change management workshops, as well as interviews with organisational members of a change management task force. Findings - The response to the crisis was to recognise the importance of the people and their knowledge to the organisation, and to build a strategy which improved business processes and communication flow across the divisions, as well as managing the departure of knowledge workers from an organisation in the process of being dissolved. Practical implications - The paper demonstrates the importance of building a knowledge management strategy during times of crisis, and draws out important lessons for organisations facing organisational change. Originality/value - The paper represents a unique opportunity to learn from an organisation adopting a strategic approach to managing its knowledge during a time of crisis. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-578
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Organizational Change Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2007

Bibliographical note

This article is © Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.


  • change management
  • knowledge management
  • strategic planning


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