A new survey by Bain & Company shows that knowledge management has gained ground over the last few years in corporate America. 

A Bain press release on April 11th reports on the management consultancy’s 2005 Management Tools & Trends survey. As a former Bain consultant, I know that Bain does excellent strategic thinking backed by outstanding surveys and market research, so I give more weight to these findings than I would many other surveys.

Among other findings, the survey shows that KM has “made substantial gains in use since the early ’90s.” Though small and large companies adopt KM at equal rates, small companies are more satisfied with their KM efforts than are large ones. On first thought, I would have expected the opposite result – that large companies, by virtue of being large and having expertise scattered, would find more value in KM. Upon further consideration, I think it is likely that the small companies have a more coherent culture and their employees, because of personal connections, may be more willing to share. That would explain higher satisfaction with KM efforts, though other explanations are possible.

KM traction in corporate America is good news for those law firms committed to KM. If clients “do KM,” then law firms should find doing KM easier, at least psychologically.