Knowledge management in Islamic and conventional banks in the United Arab Emirates

Source of Publication

Management Research Review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to gain insight into the extent that knowledge management (KM) is practiced by Islamic and conventional banks in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Design/methodology/approach: Following secondary research, structured in-depth, qualitative interviews were conducted with CEOs, senior managers, and department heads of eight banks in the UAE. Findings: Islamic banks in the UAE were found to be relatively more actively engaged in KM than conventional banks. However, both Islamic and conventional banks were found to be focused on knowledge capture, knowledge transfer, and knowledge sharing. Most of the banks in this study could be classified as being in the pre- or early implementation phase of KM. The study found scant knowledge-based marketing taking place in either type of bank. None of the banks was found to have a dedicated knowledge champion (KM Officer). Similarly, none of the banks was identified as possessing a strong organization-wide KM culture. Research limitations/implications: Cultural norms concerning privacy limited willingness to participate and information sharing. Although the sample was small, it was deemed reliable, as participants not only understood the importance of research to the development of the UAE, a country very keen to participate in the knowledge-based economy, but they also held key positions in their banks which allowed them full knowledge of the scope of KM implementation, utilization, and practice in their organizations and they agreed to full disclosure and transparency in their responses. The implication of this research is that best practice in KM can be implemented in banks in the UAE once KM gaps are identified. Originality/value: The banking sector is an important element of the UAE economy. Successful and appropriate implementation of KM practices in UAE banks may buttress the Emirati economy, especially during the current banking crisis. The insight gained from the initial findings of this research can assist KM implementation, utilization, and practice in UAE banks, thereby aiding organizations' learning and the development of a knowledge culture in banks which, in turn, may lead to increased productivity and gains in competitive advantage, growth, and profit. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Document Type


First Page


Last Page


Publication Date