Knowledge management : issues, processes and outcomes
With the increase in more service-oriented industries in the current economy, companies are having to reasses their assets in order to overcome competition. The lifestyles of people have become more fast-paced and along with the effects of globalisation, companies need to be able to adapt quickly to the ever-changing nature of consumer demands. Traditional material assets are no longer the only things that could be considered of value within the organisation. The skills, expertise and knowledge of the employees within the company could also be considered an asset that should be utilised efficiently to generate more income for the company. Furthermore, the advances in technology have created a society where information is utilised and modified at a rapid pace. Therefore, organisations; need to be aware of the knowledge that is within the company and utilise it efficiently to create services and products that would be attractive to the buying market. In the interest of knowledge and it s value within organisations, this research studies the capability of the organisation to manage the knowledge of their employees within the context of Knowledge Management( KM) processes. The research aims to discover how organisations identify the necessary knowledge required within the company and encourage their staff to become more knowledgeable. Moreover, this study includes questioning the extent to which companies have implemented KM strategies within the organisation that would assist them in the management of employee knowledge. Furthermore, the thesis aims to study how knowledge is retained and disseminated within the organisation. Lastly, the Human Resource support systems that would assist in the management of knowledge within the company are also studied. The research takes place within four different companies from four separate industries, namely the pharmaceutical, architecture, telecommunications and the oil and gas industries. The study is conducted using the qualitative multiple case-study method where key members within the chosen organisations are interviewed. It is discovered that although all the companies involved in the research are aware of the importance of their employees' knowledge and that they would like to manage it more efficiently, the organisations have not implemented any formal KM strategy. However, the companies have a variety of other policies and procedures that, when combined, could help the company to manage the knowledge base within the organisation. In addition, the findings of the study raise the issue of utilising support systems such as training and rewards as a means for encouraging employees to remain within the company as well as to contribute to the collective knowledge of the organisation. In conclusion, this research discovers possible points of interest regarding the issues relating to the KM process that should be taken into consideration when planning a KM strategy within an organisation.