Managing knowledge is not anything new, scholars have considered the various processes involved. A good example of this, executives can look at three step processes of knowledge accumulation, integration, and reconfiguration. First, knowledge is accumulated by creating new approach to gathering, evaluating, and disseminating information throughout the SMEs. Executives inspire people to create new ideas and develop effective mechanisms to acquire knowledge from various sources such as suppliers, customers, business partners, and competitors. This is similar to a value-chain approach. Executives need to first support this approach for the model to work because they play a strategic role in expanding the knowledge accumulation through applying incentives as mechanisms to develop a more innovative climate and managing effective tools to acquire knowledge from external sources.
Next, executives integrate knowledge internally to enhance the effectiveness and efficiencies in various systems and processes, as well as to be more responsive to market changes. Accumulated knowledge is synthesized to produce higher quality outcomes. Thus, knowledge integration focuses on monitoring and controlling knowledge management practices, evaluating the effectiveness of current knowledge, defining and recognizing core knowledge areas, coordinating expert opinions, sharing organizational knowledge, and scanning for new knowledge to keep the quality of their services and products continuously improving. In the process of knowledge integration, knowledge enters organizational processes and provides valuable contributions to services and products.
Finally, executives must curtail the knowledge within SMEs. This knowledge needs to be reconfigured to meet environmental changes and new challenges in the time of Covid-19 and at the same time should not be leaked to the competition in any shape or form unless agreed upon by senior executives. When executives agree to share knowledge with other organizations in the environment, studies have shown that that knowledge is often difficult to share externally. One reason is that other organizations have too much pride to accept knowledge or are apprehensive to expose themselves to the competition. Therefore, executives may lack the required capabilities to interact with other organizations, or distrust sharing their knowledge. In addition, just the notion of creating an expert group or steering committee may be shortsighted because such groups may not have sufficient diversity to comprehend knowledge acquired from external sources. On the other hand, executives are aware of networking with more successful competitors is a key activity for SMEs to share successes and communicate best practices as a way of identifying new collaboration opportunities that can occur to overcome challenging situations in the time of Covid-19. Executives and their expert groups and/or steering committees are the ones who can make final decisions about developing alliances with competitors and other business partners.