Document Type : Articles


Ferdowsi University of mashhad


This paper aims to synthesize findings drawn from studies on knowledge leadership to identify the key trend of research in the knowledge management literature over the past two decades. A systematic literature review was performed over a data set of 149 related studies published in the international journals indexed by the WoS, SCOPUS, ProQuest, Google Scholar, Emerald Insight, and Elsevier databases between 2001 and 2021. The findings conceptualized the nature of “knowledge leadership” and revealed six core themes focusing on multiple leadership styles, knowledge leadership for learning, effective KM leadership, leader-member exchange, and customer knowledge leadership. Additionally, the content analysis revealed the importance of knowledge leaders being more transformational, distributed, empowering, and visionary. It has been widely reported that transformational leadership is a significant driver of knowledge management practices in the organization. This study provides an integrated picture of effective knowledge leadership for managers and practitioners that significantly depends on a paradigm shift from hierarchical structures and traditional models of leadership to the use of shared, distributed, and networking leadership. Given this increasing interest in studying the role of leadership in KM, it is interesting to investigate the research trend of knowledge leadership in the KM literature.


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