In recent years of turbulent and unpredictable business environment and market imperfections, there is a difficulty regarding the sources of firms' and organizations' competitive advantage. Modern firms, scanning and evaluating their turbulent external environments, have to coordinate their managerial initiatives so as to develop and advance their performance and finally to enhance their competitiveness. Firms and organizations should also be flexible and adjustable to the changing national and international market conditions in order to stay competitive and benefit from a continual managerial success.
In this challenging economic environment, there are a lot of chances for modern firms and organizations to achieve superior profits. It is also quite acceptable that firms can acquire strategic competitiveness and above average profitability rates, when the entire employees understand the organizational strategy, the intermediate goals and the ultimate targets. In fact, most leading firms succeeded in linking every employee to the overall strategic management process and their business success does not depend neither on research and development expenses nor on production and marketing strategies, on the contrary, their most important strategic advantage is mainly created due to their human resource innovative approaches. Successful firms proved to be more flexible and innovative, focused on current and future customer needs and more absorptive to pioneer organizational practices based on the knowledge economy.
This paper aims at analyzing the way knowledge management may increase the performance of modern firms and organizations, support the creation of more and better jobs and promote equal opportunities and gender equality in a more integrative society. Data from actual cases have been employed in order to provide an empirical support to the theoretical development of a conceptual model.
2. Applying Innovative Organizational Forms
In the new markets of intense competition at national and global level, many firms gained competitive success through human resource. Working with employees is really meaningful, as it is widely accepted that workforce is a firm's most valuable asset and so, by treating them with the proper care, the firm can outperform its competitors' success.
In recent years, it has been acknowledged that the identification of the skills and talents of the workforce, their utilization, their development and their communication within the organization is the key to create a competitive advantage. With the proper training, leadership and teamwork initiatives the organization can develop all employees' skills and abilities and exploit them within a continuously evolving corporate structure. In the rapidly changing knowledge-based economy, some researchers have paid attention to examine the determinants on the adoption of human resource practices (Tannenbaum & Dupuree-Bruno, 1994) and their effects on productivity and efficiency (MacDuffie, 1995), given their increasing importance to the competitive advantages of firms.
In the history of knowledge management, the creation of new knowledge and speeding it throughout the organization is perceived as the most integrated conceptual framework of knowledge creation and innovation, drawing the international scientific attention. The knowledge-based view concerns knowledge as a valuable resource of the firm (Grant, 1996; Spender, 1996). Many researchers have argued that creating knowledge is the basis of innovation and a vital source for producing business value (Novaka & Takeuchi, 1995) embodied in processes and services (Novaka, 1994). The knowledge creating process is a never ending process that upgrades itself continually over time. In other words, knowledge is developed and evolved through time and space and widened via formal and informal learning. This spiral process is applied across organization's boundaries providing a cross-levelling exploitation of knowledge. …