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Importance of Knowledge Management at Water Utilities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Works Management and Policy
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Water utilities face continuous challenges with the changes of operational environment, aging personnel, and related tacit knowledge of employees. This article explores knowledge management at one Finnish utility and points out knowledge sharing in daily tasks. It highlights how employees interpret knowledge and tacit knowledge and their sharing. Qualitative inquiry was used. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 61 employees (65% of personnel) in 2004 and 33 in 2013 (47%). Knowledge management was regarded as a personal, individually controlled property. Value was one obstacle to the unwillingness to share knowledge and tacit knowledge. Positive change between 2004 and 2013 was seen in the interpretation of tacit knowledge: being something that is recorded in your own head only. Tacit knowledge was daily shared with the closest coworkers. As a strategic asset, knowledge should be managed at water and wastewater utilities as further development needs crucial understanding of previous procedures and practices.


  • constraints, Finland, knowledge sharing, tacit knowledge, water utility

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