This paper aims to identify and prioritize the importance of critical success factors (CSFs), which have been proposed in the form of empirical and theoretical studies by different authors and scholars. Through an in-depth and comparative study twelve CSFs along with their related elements were identified and an instrument then was developed to collect the views of knowledge management (KM) experts on the perceived importance of CSFs. Through statistical analysis tests, reliability and validity including construct validity of the instrument was approved by factor analysis. The analysis of these CSFs showed that leadership and support of top management and organizational culture factors were perceived to be the most important factors, whereas rewarding and motivation and benchmarking factors were the least. Since companies may not be able to manage all aspects of knowledge at the same time, an ordered list of CSFs will provide a clue to Iranian organizations, particularly SMEs which are keen to implement KM initiative to prioritize and adjust their knowledge practices. The research adds knowledge in the field of KM within the context of developing countries and gives a particular focus on the Iran SMEs; as a review of literature has identified no studies that have undertaken a comprehensive analysis of KM practices in the Iranian context. Also this study has the potential to enhance the understanding of KM practices amongst researches and practitioners.
Key words: Critical success factors, knowledge management, small to medium sized enterprises, factors analysis, Iran.
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