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- Volume 13, Issue 1, 2011
South African Journal of Information Management - Volume 13, Issue 1, 2011
Volumes & issues
Volume 13, Issue 1, 2011
Information and knowledge sharing trends of small and medium-sized enterprises in the Western Cape, South Africa : original researchSource: South African Journal of Information Management 13, pp 1 –10 (2011)More Less
Background: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, are currently facing various financial and other obstacles, which may threaten their survival. Globalisation, the lowering of trade barriers and the reduction of import tariffs have resulted in increased international competition. Businesses are thus forced to undertake continuous improvements and innovation in order to survive, to keep abreast of change and to excel.
Objectives: Effective knowledge sharing and consequent knowledge management (KM) have been identified as definite approaches to enhancing competitive advantage. The research therefore aimed to establish to what extent small enterprises embrace their knowledge sharing activities and whether their knowledge sharing activities are managed at all. Furthermore, it examined how their knowledge sharing can contribute to their competitive advantage.
Method: A case study approach was followed for this research. Selected SMEs from the engineering sector were the subject of the case study and SME owners, directors and managers of consulting civil engineering firms were interviewed to determine whether there are mechanisms in place to ensure better knowledge sharing within SMEs.
Results: In general, respondents had stated that they possessed special factors that set them above their competitors:
- The company strategy and good reputation of completing projects within the required timeframe. In other words, they were well known for their track record in terms of service delivery.
- Their specialty in terms of different focus areas, namely structural and civil engineering, water supply and storm water design, transportation, sewer design and storm water traffic.
- The fact that they operated in silos. This means that the specialists in their specific fields operated independently in groups, separately from everyone else in the company.
- Their good relationship with local authorities and other companies in the field.
- Their multidisciplinary approach in incorporating all spheres of civil engineering, which gave them a niche in the market.
- The vast knowledge and experience of the owners and directors.
Records management and risk management at Kenya Commercial Bank Limited, Nairobi : original researchSource: South African Journal of Information Management 13, pp 1 –11 (2011)More Less
Background: This paper reported empirical research findings of an MPhil in Information Sciences (Records and Archives Management) study conducted at Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya between September 2007 and July 2009.
Objectives: The aim of the study was to investigate records management and risk management at Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Ltd, in the Nairobi area and propose recommendations to enhance the functions of records and risk management at KCB. The specific objectives of the study were to, (1) establish the nature and type of risks to which KCB is exposed, (2) conduct business process analysis and identify the records generated by KCB, (3) establish the extent to which records management is emphasised within KCB as a tool to managing risk, (4) identify which vital records of KCB need protection because of their nature and value to the bank and (5) make recommendations to enhance current records management practices to support the function of risk management in KCB.
Method: The study was qualitative. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews. The theoretical framework of the study involved triangulation of the records continuum model by Frank Upward (1980) and the integrated risk management model by the Government of Canada (2000).
Results: The key findings of the study were, (1) KCB is exposed to a wide range of risks by virtue of its business, (2) KCB generates a lot of records in the course of its business activities and (3) there are inadequate records management practices and systems, the lack of which undermines the risk management function.
Conclusion: The findings of this study have revealed the need to strengthen records management as a critical success factor in risk mitigation within KCB and, by extension, the Kenyan banking industry. A records management model was proposed to guide the management of records within an enterprise-wide risk management framework in the bank.
Knowledge sharing behaviour and demographic variables amongst secondary school teachers in and around Gaborone, Botswana : original researchSource: South African Journal of Information Management 13, pp 1 –6 (2011)More Less
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between knowledge sharing behaviour and the demographic variables gender, age, organisational tenure and professional tenure. Following a correlational survey approach, the study sourced its data from senior secondary school teachers in and around Gaborone, Botswana. Knowledge sharing behaviour was measured using an instrument sourced from the extant literature. No statistically significant relationship was detected between knowledge sharing behaviour and gender, age, or professional tenure. Only organisational tenure weakly negatively correlated with knowledge sharing behaviour. Thus, according to these findings, demographic variables do not appear to be important determinants of knowledge sharing behaviour.
Source: South African Journal of Information Management 13, pp 1 –9 (2011)More Less
Information warfare (IW) is a dynamic and developing concept, which constitutes a number of disciplines. This paper aims to develop a life cycle model for information warfare that is applicable to all of the constituent disciplines. The model aims to be scalable and applicable to civilian and military incidents where information warfare tactics are employed. Existing information warfare models are discussed, and a new model is developed from the common aspects of these existing models. The proposed model is then applied to a variety of incidents to test its applicability and scalability. The proposed model is shown to be applicable to multiple disciplines of information warfare and is scalable, thus meeting the objectives of the model.
Conquering the digital divide : Botswana and South Korea digital divide status and interventions : original researchSource: South African Journal of Information Management 13, pp 1 –10 (2011)More Less
Background: Botswana is putting in place initiatives towards establishing itself as a knowledge-based economy. Transformation from a resource-based to a knowledge-based economy is partly hinged on innovation, research and development capability, knowledge channels, and the funding of research and development activities.
Objectives: Bridging the digital divide and narrowing the intra-national divide brings about global information and communication technology (ICT) usage that translates into changing work patterns and eventually transformed economies. This article outlines the different interventions implemented in Botswana to bridge the divide. The South Korean experience in bridging the divide is discussed so as to serve as lessons on how to effectively bridge the divide to Botswana's initiatives.
Method: Using a mix of exploratory and empirical study, this article presents the findings on the status of ICT uptake in Botswana and investigates the level of the digital divide in the country.
Results: The results of the study show that the digital divide is much more evident in Botswana than in South Korea. South Korea has put in place robust strategic initiatives towards reducing the digital divide and this has largely transcended into its transformation into a full-fledged knowledge society.
Conclusion: This article is timely as it unearths the different pointers that may be utilised in policy formation and what interventions need to be taken at both the individual and national level to bridge the digital divide.
Investigating the extent to which mobile phones reduce knowledge transfer barriers in student project teams : original researchSource: South African Journal of Information Management 13, pp 1 –10 (2011)More Less
Group learning plays a key role in the transfer of knowledge. In institutions of learning, it enhances students' understanding, critical thinking, integration of knowledge and knowledge sharing. However, the transfer of knowledge in group projects is often impeded by factors such as time and budget constraints, individual and social barriers, and a lack of motivation.
Institutions of learning are increasingly adopting information and communication technologies (e.g. mobile technologies) to provide solutions to the challenges facing them. Whilst the integration of the mobile context and technologies in learning environment has been encouraged over the years, and indeed many students today can use mobile phones, the effectiveness of these technologies in reducing impediments to knowledge transfer in group learning has not been investigated.
This study investigated the extent to which mobile phones reduce the barriers to knowledge transfer in project groups. The impediments examined include the nature of knowledge, social barriers, lack of time and lack of motivation. Quantitative and qualitative approaches were used to collect and analyse the data. The sample consisted of 85 students engaged in group projects in the departments of Information Systems, Civil Engineering, Computer Science and Construction Engineering.
The results show that mobile phones reduce all four knowledge transfer barriers investigated in the project groups. We found no significant difference in the nature of knowledge shared by teams with weak and strong ties. This suggests that teams with weak social ties who normally experience difficulty sharing complex (tacit) knowledge can easily do so with the aid of mobile facilities. In addition, frequent users of mobile phones were motivated to share explicit knowledge with their peers whilst those who often work with tacit knowledge could convert it to explicit form and share it with others. Mobile features like short messaging service and multimedia messaging service (SMS & MMS or what some people refer to as 'texting'), and email were mainly used to share knowledge and were perceived to reduce knowledge transfer time more than voice facilities.
Our findings indicate that most students do not utilise the affordances of mobile phones for tacit knowledge transfer. Sharing of tacit knowledge needs to be encouraged since it allows individuals to achieve personal goals and may lead to effective management of oneself, other people and tasks. In addition, students do not appear to recognise the role of mobile phones in enhancing knowledge transfer. More awareness of this role needs to be created in institutions of learning in order to improve group learning and student performance.
Author Graham WrightSource: South African Journal of Information Management 13, pp 1 –5 (2011)More Less
Background: The discipline of health or medical informatics is relatively new in that the literature has existed for only 40 years. The British Computer Society (BCS) health group was of the opinion that work should be undertaken to explore the scope of medical or health informatics. Once the mapping work was completed the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) expressed the wish to develop it further to define the knowledge base of the discipline and produce a comprehensive internationally applicable framework. This article will also highlight the move from the expert opinion of a small group to the analysis of publications to generalise and refine the initial findings, and illustrate the importance of triangulation.
Objectives: The aim of the project was to explore the theoretical constructs underpinning the discipline of health informatics and produce a cognitive map of the existing understanding of the discipline and develop the knowledge base of health informatics for the IMIA and the BCS.
Method: The five-phase project, described in this article, undertaken to define the discipline of health informatics used four forms of triangulation.
Results: The output from the project is a framework giving the 14 major headings (Subjects) and 245 elements, which together describe the current perception of the discipline of health informatics.
Conclusion: This article describes how each phase of the project was strengthened, through using triangulation within and between the different phases. This was done to ensure that the investigators could be confident in the confirmation and completeness of data, and assured of the validity and reliability of the final output of the 'IMIA Knowledge Base' that was endorsed by the IMIA Board in November 2009.
Enabling information sharing by establishing trust in supply chains : a case study in the South African automotive industry : original researchSource: South African Journal of Information Management 13, pp 1 –8 (2011)More Less
Background: The significant economic importance of the country's automotive industry provided the context for this study. The success of the industry relies on the effectiveness and efficiency of the supply chain, which can be significantly affected by the strength of the supply chain relationships. The role of trust and information sharing in relation to two key theories was considered, namely: organisational information processing theory and game theory. Previous studies have recognised the importance of trust and information sharing in supply chain relationships and considered the effect of trust on information sharing, or the effect of information sharing on trust in a single direction. Thus, the potential cyclical relationship between the two factors has been largely ignored.
Objectives: This paper explored the relationship between trust and information sharing in South African automotive supply chains, and establishes the importance of nurturing a cyclical relationship between these two factors. In addition, the role of information technology (IT) in supporting this relationship was considered. By improving both trust and information sharing, the performance and competitiveness of the supply chain can be improved.
Method: An examination of the effects of a lack of trust in a supply chain relationship, and the consequential lack of information flow, was conducted by means of a case study of an Eastern Cape-based automotive supplier. A case study research method was followed for this study, which made use of multiple data collection methods, including document survey and participant observations. The case selected is an East London based subsidiary of a larger multinational automotive component supplier to both local and international automotive original equipment manufacturers.
Results: The findings led to the conclusion that the way forward for competitive supply chains is to build trust in the supply chain in order to improve information flow, and vice versa. Information technology can be used to nurture this cyclical relationship between trust and information sharing.
Conclusion: It is proposed that simultaneously improving information flow and trust in an interorganisational relationship leads to improved supply chain performance and competitiveness.
Understanding the use of strategic intelligence as a strategic management tool in the long-term insurance industry in South Africa : original researchAuthor Rene PellissierSource: South African Journal of Information Management 13, pp 1 –13 (2011)More Less
The purpose of this research paper was to explore the extent to which strategic intelligence is utilised within the South African long-term insurance industry and whether it could be used to identify opportunities or threats within the global environment to remain competitive, create greater innovation, and corporate advantage. The paper obtained the qualitative views and opinions of strategic decision makers, on an executive managerial level within the South African long-term insurance industry, on their organisations use of strategic intelligence. It was found that there are marked differences in the conformity and usage of strategic intelligence and its components between the organisations surveyed, with a measurable difference between large and small organisations. It is, however, generally viewed that the use of a strategic intelligence framework could greatly enhance decision-making. Data collection for the research undertaken was limited to the 82 long-term insurance companies, which were registered with the South African Financial Services Board. More specifically the focus was on the organisations listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange within the Life Assurance sector, within which a final response rate of 36.1% was achieved, including the 100% response rate from the six listed organisations. By understanding the extent to which strategic intelligence is utilised in the South African longterm insurance industry, and the benefits or problems that are experienced by implementing and using strategic intelligence as an input to the strategic management process we can comprehend the value that strategic intelligence adds in the decision making process. The originality of this work concludes in the identification and utilisation of the most important factors of a strategic intelligence framework that will greatly enhance global corporate decision-making and result in competitive advantage and constant innovation within the South African business environment.
Challenges of Executive Information Systems in listed Johannesburg Stock Exchange companies : original researchSource: South African Journal of Information Management 13, pp 1 –10 (2011)More Less
Background: The widespread use of Executive Information Systems (EISs) as a management information tool was noted in listed Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) companies. The digital business environment exposed executives to so much data that data need to be converted into useful information that is organised and summarised.
Objectives: The purpose of this study is to establish and to determine the existence, and to what extent EISs exist in all levels of management and to identify the challenges companies experienced in listed JSE companies. Therefore the problem exists that EIS-users at all levels of management are unaware of the challenges of EISs and that EISs can be used as a tool to analyse their businesses' performance and competitiveness.
Method: A mixed method was used; both quantitative and qualitative in nature. Questionnaires were sent to 334 listed JSE companies and 13 interviews were conducted with users of EISs in all levels of management.
Results: The results of the study demonstrate that the majority of respondents of the questionnaire have an EIS or plan to implement an EIS. The results further revealed the respondents' positive attitude towards EISs as it is an excellent management information tool that adds strategic value to their business, that is critical for real-time decision-making, solves problems and creates a competitive edge. From the results it is evident that there is a need for an EIS to be 'everybody's information system'. The results of the interviews demonstrate that an EIS is a seamless reliable system necessary for proper timeous decision-making. The respondents to the questionnaire and the interviewees indicated that they understood the value of EISs as a useful part of their company.
Conclusion: The study adds value to the awareness and understanding of EISs that creates a business environment in which business and management can enhance sustainability and strategic competitiveness.
Enhancing knowledge retention in higher education : a case of the University of Zambia : original researchSource: South African Journal of Information Management 13, pp 1 –9 (2011)More Less
The purpose of this study was to investigate how knowledge retention may be enhanced at the University of Zambia (UNZA). A quantitative case study design employing a triangulation of data collection methods was used. Data were collected using interviews and questionnaires. Purposive sampling was used to determine participants for the interviews whilst stratified random sampling was employed to select the respondents for the questionnaire. The quantitative and qualitative data that was analysed using SPSS® indicates that UNZA lacked certain knowledge retention practices that might enable it to retain operational relevant knowledge. In view of the findings, the study recommends the adoption of a knowledge retention framework that could be embedded in UNZA's knowledge management policy.
Author Tiko IyamuSource: South African Journal of Information Management 13, pp 1 –9 (2011)More Less
Over the last two decades competition amongst organisations including financial institutions has increased tremendously. The value of information is critical to competition in different organisations. In addition, the management of cost of delivery and cohesiveness of information flow and use in the organisations continue a challenge to information technology (IT). In an attempt to address these challenges, many organisations sought various solutions, including enterprise information architecture (EIA). The EIA is intended to address the needs of the organisation for competitive advantage.
This research article focused on the role of principles in the development and implementation of EIA. The article aimed to investigate how EIA could be best leveraged, exploited, or otherwise used to provide business value. The research brings about a fresh perspective and new methodological principles required in architecting the enterprise information.
Corporate websites in Africa : has online investor relations communication improved during the past four years? Evidence from Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia : original researchSource: South African Journal of Information Management 13, pp 1 –7 (2011)More Less
Background : Investors require detailed financial and non-financial information to evaluate investments. This information is available in various forms (e.g. hard copies, published media, broker and investment consultants and corporate websites). Corporate websites have the potential to be both a one-stop-shop for investor needs and an efficient cost-effective medium for companies to communicate with investors. As previous research (Baard & Nel 2006) showed unacceptable low levels of Internet presence in selected African countries compared to other international companies, including companies in South Africa, a follow-up study was undertaken. An improvement was expected given the rapid increase in Internet users, improvements in infrastructure, the arrival of wireless access technologies and lower tariffs.
Objectives : The objectives of this study were to measure the availability of corporate websites and dedicated investor relations (IR) sections; to evaluate the content of IR information communicated and to compare findings with previous research.
Method : For ease of comparison this study has evaluated the same 40 companies in each of the countries, namely Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia that were evaluated in the 2006 study. A number of steps were taken to find the websites after which all the working websites were screened and evaluated against a checklist of international best practices.
Results : Although improvements were apparent, 19% of the companies in the study still do not have websites, 20% do not supply financial information on websites and a significant number of companies do not optimally utilise websites according to international best practices.
Conclusion : Notwithstanding improvements, a significant number of companies do not optimally utilise their corporate websites to communicate to investors. Possible reasons were discussed (e.g. necessary skills, available technology and cost), but it was concluded that companies are probably either negligent, do not regard it as important to communicate information to investors via corporate websites, or do not realise the benefits of communicating company information in this manner.
An empirical study on website usability elements and how they affect search engine optimisation : original researchSource: South African Journal of Information Management 13, pp 1 –9 (2011)More Less
The primary objective of this research project was to identify and investigate the website usability attributes which are in contradiction with search engine optimisation elements. The secondary objective was to determine if these usability attributes affect conversion. Although the literature review identifies the contradictions, experts disagree about their existence.
An experiment was conducted, whereby the conversion and / or traffic ratio results of an existing control website were compared to a usability-designed version of the control website, namely the experimental website. All optimisation elements were ignored, thus implementing only usability.
The results clearly show that inclusion of the usability attributes positively affect conversion, indicating that usability is a prerequisite for effective website design. Search engine optimisation is also a prerequisite for the very reason that if a website does not rank on the first page of the search engine result page for a given keyword, then that website might as well not exist.
According to this empirical work, usability is in contradiction to search engine optimisation best practices. Therefore the two need to be weighed up in terms of importance towards search engines and visitors.
The mediating effect of knowledge sharing between organisational culture and turnover intentions of professional nursesSource: South African Journal of Information Management 13, pp 1 –6 (2011)More Less
Professional nurses routinely use highly developed domain knowledge in combination with experiential knowledge to deliver quality care. However, this knowledge is often lost to employers as the migration of professional nurses from the developing countries to the developed world has become a global problem. The objective of this study therefore was to determine the relationships between organisational culture, knowledge sharing and turnover intentions and thereafter to propose knowledge sharing as a mediating variable in this relationship in order to suggest a retention strategy. A cross-sectional field survey design with questionnaires was used on a sample of professional nurses (N = 530) in private and provincial hospitals in South Africa. The tri-variate procedure of Baron and Kenny for mediation testing was adopted. The results indicated that a positive correlation exists between organisational culture and knowledge sharing, but a significant negative correlation between organisational culture and turnover intentions, as well as between knowledge sharing and turnover intentions. Finally, the results indicated that knowledge sharing mediates the relationship between organisational culture and turnover intentions, although with a small effect size. The findings suggest that turnover intentions of nurses can be actively managed through contextual variables such as organisational culture and opportunities for knowledge sharing.