Managing knowledge against the tide: Barriers to knowledge management in the Chilean social and cultural context


  • Gregorio Perez-Arrau Universidad de Santiago de Chile



KM Iniciatives, Barriers, emerging economies


In recent years, knowledge management has become increasingly relevant in Chile, with a growing number of organisations adopting policies and practices in this area. Despite this growth, it is known that many of the new initiatives in the field of KM do not thrive or face difficult start-up challenges, limiting the number of successful initiatives in this country. In this context, the aim of this research is to identify the main barriers faced by managers and practitioners in the implementation of KM initiatives in the context of Chilean organisations and to describe the ways in which these problems are addressed by them. This study was based on the review of twenty-six cases of knowledge management initiatives implemented between 2010 and 2022 in Chile, which were described and analysed using qualitative methodology. Among the main findings, it was found that the most important barriers to carrying out these initiatives coincide, to a large extent, with some of the characteristics of Chilean culture and society described in the literature of organisational studies, such as: lack of trust; large power distance in the organisational structure; lack of communication skills; paternalistic organisational culture, to mention a few. Also, one aspect worth highlighting is the traditional business culture that tends to focus on a "low cost" strategy and exploitation of raw materials, rather than investing in innovation.  Scarce resources, problematic performance measurement and lack of knowledge management training for employees and managers were also mentioned as adverse factors. The relevance of this study lies in the fact that it provides insight into the main barriers faced by knowledge management initiatives in developing countries, specifically in a region such as Latin America, thus contributing to the development of this field in this region.