Modelling the current state and potential use of knowledge management in higher education institutions
This research explores the development of a framework appropriate to evaluate the readiness of a university to engage with knowledge management. Many universities are evolving from traditional bureaucratic, hierarchical structures to become more flexible, adaptable, commercially viable and competitive and knowledge management is becoming increasingly important in this respect. An over view of knowledge management clarifies what the concept is, and a critical review of current frameworks and models identifies gaps and weaknesses specifically in relation to empirical testing, theoretical underpinning and a holistic approach. This framework addresses those gaps and weaknesses and draws on organisational management, strategy, structure and culture, and systems thinking to ensure a holistic approach. These key elements provide the basis upon which a knowledge management framework is developed. A Soft Systems Methodological approach with a critical dimension is used to underpin this research because enquiry into organisational problem situations is complex and unstructured, based on human activity and social systems. The framework is innovative and offers contributions to knowledge because it: - is a new development within the domain of knowledge management. (it is intended to help evaluate the readiness of universities to engage in knowledge management); - provides a new application of critical systems thinking (critical systems thinking is applied to knowledge management); - uses a new synthesis (it was developed using a synthesis of soft systems principles, knowledge management concepts, and organisational theory); - enables organisations to consider their situations in new ways (by enabling self-critique of KM readiness); - offers new insights into the domain of knowledge management by means of the comprehensive and substantial literature review that helped its development.