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Knowledge Management and Absorptive Capacity to Tackle Disruptions in the Era of Digital Transformation

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 December 2021) | Viewed by 2515

Special Issue Editors

Department of Management and Production Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, 10124 Torino, Italy
Interests: digital transformation; strategy; innovation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Mechanics, Mathematics and Management, Politecnico di Bari, 70125 Bari, Italy
Interests: innovation; technology management; strategy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Engineering, University of Naples Parthenope, 80143 Naples, Italy
Interests: knowledge management; technology management; environmental sustainability management; supply chain management; circular economy; green and energy-efficient logistics; entrepreneurship; business management; Industry 4.0; digital transformation; big data and analytics; blockchain; high-tech manufacturing and service industries
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Engineering, Università degli Studi di Palermo, 90133 Palermo, Italy
Interests: innovation; strategy; operations
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The main objective of the proposed track is to revisit knowledge management (KM) field and the construct of absorptive capacity (ACAP) in light of the digital transformation occurring within companies, such as the usage of blockchain or industrial internet solutions, which enable to tackle disruptions, achieve organizational resilience and capture external data of different nature, and machine learning solutions which allow to access data and ‘learn’. Lifelong and ubiquitous learning, cloud computing and smart working paradigms are the pillars that are boosting individuals' empowerment and the growth of the organizations of which they are part. Drawing on KM and ACAP theories we encourage papers that examine novel phenomena, employ original methodologies, and offer interesting theoretical and empirical contribution to this research theme.

Topics welcome in this Special Issue include (but are not limited to):

  • Analyzing large and small and medium highly-innovative firms that are experienced in relying on digital innovation processes and sourcing knowledge from external sources to tackle disruptions;
  • Unveiling the emergence and influence of new knowledge management systems based on digital solutions to improve environmental, financial and social sustainability of individual firms and supply chains;
  • Examining the impact of the digitization of knowledge management processes on organizational, innovative, and financial performance;
  • Examining whether and how digital technologies affect the knowledge management processes underlying each component of ACAP (acquisition, assimilation, transformation, and application) and, in turn, whether and how they enable/constrain KM and innovation performance;
  • Understanding how digital transformation is impacting on the human capital in the context of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and large corporations by exploring perspectives of Human Resource (HR) management, organisational resilience, leadership and competencies creation and destroying.


  1. Ardito, L., Messeni Petruzzelli, A., Panniello, U. and Garavelli, A.C. (2019), "Towards Industry 4.0: Mapping digital technologies for supply chain management-marketing integration", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 323–346.
  2. Arora, A.S., Sivakumar, K., & Pavlou, P.A. (2021). Social Capacitance: Leveraging Absorptive Capacity in the Age of Social Media. Journal of Business Research, 124), 342–356.
  3. Castagna, F., Centobelli, P., Cerchione, R., Esposito, E., Oropallo, E., Passaro, R. (2020). Customer Knowledge Management in SMEs facing Digital Transformation, Sustainability, 12(9), 3899.
  4. Centobelli, P., Cerchione, R., Esposito, E., & Oropallo, E. (2021). Surfing blockchain wave, or drowning? Shaping the future of distributed ledgers and decentralized technologies. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 165, 120463.
  5. Cohen, W.M. and Levinthal, D.A. (1990), "Absorptive Capacity: A New Perspective on Learning and Innovation", Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 128–152.
  6. Coronado-Medina, A. & Jose Arias-Pérez & Geovanny Perdomo-Charry, 2020. "Fostering Product Innovation Through Digital Transformation and Absorptive Capacity," International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management (IJITM), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 17(06), pages 1–23.
  7. Fosso Wamba, S., Akter, S., Edwards, A., Chopin, G. and Gnanzou, D. (2015), "How 'big data' can make big impact: Findings from a systematic review and a longitudinal case study", International Journal of Production Economics, Vol. 165, pp. 234–246.
  8. Fowler, A. (2000), "The role of AI-based technology in support of the knowledge management value activity cycle", Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Vol. 9 No. 2-3, pp. 107–128.
  9. Gold, A.H., Malhotra, A. and Segars, A.H. (2001), "Knowledge Management: An Organizational Capabilities Perspective", Journal of Management Information Systems, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 185–214.
  10. Intezari, A. and Gressel, S. (2017), "Information and reformation in KM systems: big data and strategic decision-making", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 71–91.
  11. Iyengar, K., Sweeney, J.R. and Montealegre, R. (2015), "Information Technology Use as a Learning Mechanism: The Impact of IT Use on Knowledge Transfer Effectiveness, Absorptive Capacity, and Franchisee Performance", MIS Quarterly, Vol. 39 No. 3, pp. 615–641.
  12. Kane, G.C. and Alavi, M. (2007), "Information Technology and Organizational Learning: An Investigation of Exploration and Exploitation Processes", Organization Science, Vol. 18 No. 5, pp. 796–812.
  13. Marabelli, M. and Newell, S. (2014), "Knowing, Power and Materiality: A Critical Review and Reconceptualization of Absorptive Capacity", International Journal of Management Reviews, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 479–499.
  14. Müller, J.M., Buliga, O., & Voigt, K.-I. (2020). The Role of Absorptive Capacity and Innovation Strategy in the Design of Industry 4.0 Business Models-a Comparison between Smes and Large Enterprises. European Management Journal, In press.
  15. Raguseo, E. (2018), "Big data technologies: An empirical investigation on their adoption, benefits and risks for companies", International Journal of Information Management, Vol. 38 No. 1, pp. 187–195.
  16. Roberts, N., Galluch, P.S., Dinger, M. and Grover, V. (2012), "Absorptive Capacity and Information Systems Research: Review, Synthesis, and Directions for Future Research", MIS Quarterly, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 625–648.
  17. Siachou, E., Vrontis, D., & Trichina, E. (2021). Can Traditional Organizations Be Digitally Transformed by Themselves? The Moderating Role of Absorptive Capacity and Strategic Interdependence. Journal of Business Research, 124), 408–421.

Prof. Dr. Elisabetta Raguseo
Dr. Lorenzo Ardito
Prof. Dr. Roberto Cerchione
Dr. Erica Mazzola
Guest Editors

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  • knowledge management (KM)
  • absorptive capacity (ACAP)
  • digitalization
  • digital transformation
  • enabling technologies
  • knowledge management systems
  • organizational resilience

Published Papers (1 paper)

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14 pages, 305 KiB  
CEO Information Ability, Absorptive Capacity, and E-Commerce Adoption among Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises in China
Sustainability 2022, 14(2), 839; - 12 Jan 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1548
The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between chief executive officer (CEO) characteristics, absorptive capacity, and e-commerce adoption in SMMEs. To achieve this objective, the study analyzed primary data gathered from 2675 small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in China. [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between chief executive officer (CEO) characteristics, absorptive capacity, and e-commerce adoption in SMMEs. To achieve this objective, the study analyzed primary data gathered from 2675 small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in China. A logistic regression model was employed to estimate how the CEO characteristics and absorptive capacity of SMMEs influenced their e-commerce adoption. The study revealed a significant positive relationship between CEO information ability, confidence, and e-commerce adoption. Additionally, this study confirmed a positive relationship between absorptive capacity and the adoption of e-commerce. Full article
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