Given the importance of knowledge-based firms in the agricultural sector, this paper aimed to identify barriers hindering companies from becoming knowledge-based in the dominant competitive and dynamic environment. To this end, using a qualitative approach, in-depth interviews were conducted to collect data from 38 experts and managers in agricultural companies working in Alborz Science and Technology Park Isfahan, Hamedan, and Tehran University. The main criterion for determining the sample size was to reach the theoretical saturation. All respondents were selected using a theoretical and purposeful sampling method. Data coding and analysis procedures were completed in three stages. According to the results of the study, five main internal and external elements were identified: market inefficiency, governance-administrative barriers, inefficient union or organization, lack of skills and professionalism, and the internal inefficiency of the company.
- The corporate internal inefficiency in developing knowledge in the company. It includes three dimensions: lack of business skills, risk aversion, and inefficient organizational culture in developing and expanding knowledge in the company.
- Having a coherent organization protecting their interests, knowledge-based companies can have more bargaining power against governments, academic centers and universities, and foreign competing companies.
- Research on small businesses suggests that solving the external challenges and issues of such firms is necessary by holding training courses such as vocational and counseling training courses for the owners of such firms.
- The results of the present study indicate that foreign goods are smuggled, which leads to market inefficient.