Purpose – This paper aims to review and critique the knowledge management (KM) literature within small and medium enterprises (SMEs), offers an overview of the state of research and outline a future research agenda. Design/methodology/approach – Papers published in KM journals are analysed using a structured literature review methodology. The paper analyses 89 papers published in ten journals specialising in the field of KM. Findings – KM within SMEs is a research area of growing importance. Findings show that literature on KM in SMEs is fragmented and dominated by unrelated research, with few comparative studies between countries and several countries receiving little attention. Additionally, different definitions of SMEs are used and different kinds of SMEs (e.g. micro, small and medium) are often treated as equivalent, making comparison almost impossible. The results show a failure to address the implications of findings for practitioners and policymakers, which risks relegating the KM research on SMEs to irrelevance. Originality/value – The paper presents a comprehensive structured literature review of the articles published in KM journals. The paper’s findings can offer insights into future research avenues.