Knowledge management, organisational learning and memory in retail network planning

Wood, Steve and Reynolds, Jonathan (2013) Knowledge management, organisational learning and memory in retail network planning. Service Industries Journal, 33 (2). pp. 150-170.


The forecasting of sales from potential store development opportunities is typically supported by quantitative modelling techniques, which vary in their sophistication and practical application between retail firms. While previous research suggests analysts reach outcomes by blending modelled knowledge with intuition and experience, how this occurs in practice is only partially understood. By adopting a qualitative methodology, involving interviews with experts, this paper makes an incremental contribution to the literature by detailing how tacit knowledge is synthesised with modelled, codified knowledge to affect the decision making of senior management in UK-based retail firms. Analysis can also extend to post-opening reviews that offer the opportunity to improve local marketing and product ranging, and from which key lessons can be drawn for subsequent forecasting. Efforts are made by many large retailers to retain expertise and develop institutional ‘memory’ by codifying tacit knowledge, though these processes often rely upon the expertise embedded within broader intra- and extra- firm social networks. Success, therefore, appears to comprise structured, but flexible forecasting routines alongside a focus on learning, continuity and communication within analyst teams.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: retail location; knowledge management; decision making; organisational memory; tacit knowledge; modelling
Subject(s): Retail
Centre: Oxford Institute of Retail Management
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2012 14:41
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2018 11:49
Funders: Not applicable

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