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- Volume 14, Issue 1, 2012
South African Journal of Information Management - Volume 14, Issue 1, 2012
Volumes & issues
Volume 14, Issue 1, 2012
Source: South African Journal of Information Management 14, pp 1 –13 (2012)More Less
Background: The background to this study showed that many communities, countries and continents are only now realising the importance of discovering innovative collaborative knowledge. Knowledge management (KM) enables organisations to retain tacit knowledge. It has many advantages, like competitiveness, retaining workers' knowledge as corporate assets and assigning value to it. The value of knowledge can never depreciate. It can only grow and become more and more valuable because new knowledge is added continuously to existing knowledge.
Objective: The objective of this study was to present a framework for KM processes and using social media tools in a Living Lab (LL) environment.
Methods: In order to find a way to help organisations to retain tacit knowledge, the researchers conducted in-depth research. They used case studies and Grounded Theory (GT) to explore KM, social media tools and technologies as well as the LL environment. They emailed an online questionnaire and followed it up telephonically. The study targeted academic, support and administrative staff in higher education institutions nationwide to establish their level of KM knowledge, understanding of concepts and levels of application.
Results: The researchers concluded that the participants did not know the term KM and therefore were not using KM. They only used information hubs, or general university systems, like Integrated Technology Software (ITS), to capture and store information. The researchers suggested including social media and managing them as tools to help CoPs to meet their knowledge requirements. Therefore, the researchers presented a framework that uses semantic technologies and the social media to address the problem.
Conclusion: The success of the LL approach in developing new web-enabled LLs allows organisations to amalgamate various networks. The social media help organisations to gather, classify and verify knowledge.
Source: South African Journal of Information Management 14, pp 1 –10 (2012)More Less
Background : Innovation is a key prerequisite for being organisationally competitive. Therefore, it is imperative that enterprises grow and mature their innovation capability. Knowledge management plays a fundamental role in the ability of enterprises to innovate successfully.
Objectives : There are no formal guidelines for using knowledge management to grow innovation capability maturity. The researchers intended to develop a knowledge management framework that enables innovation capability.
Method : The scope of the research did not allow for the practical implementation of the framework. However, five industry and subject theory experts evaluated the applicability and usability of the framework.
Results : All five experts reported that enterprises could use knowledge management tools and organisational facilitating conditions to allow innovation capability maturity to grow. The importance of the framework is that it gives guidelines for using knowledge management as a vehicle for growing innovation capability maturity.
Conclusion : The framework determines whether enterprises' organisational conditions and knowledge management tools are sufficient to sustain or grow their innovation capability maturity.
Source: South African Journal of Information Management 14, pp 1 –9 (2012)More Less
Background: Over the years, there has been a growing interest in organisational research in the absorptive capacity (AC) construct, but only a few theoretical and empirical studies on this topic have been carried out over the last decade. However, a number of scholars and practitioners have continued to cite AC as a significant factor in determining the success or failure of organisations. With the dramatic changes in business environments, there has been a growing rise in the use of knowledge by organisations to help improve and maintain their competitiveness and consequently their survival. AC is a fundamental element that helps organisations to gain competitive advantage by producing commercial products or services through the transformation of knowledge.
Objective: The purpose of this article is thus to provide a review of the literature on this subject with the aim of finding out how both large and small enterprises stand to benefit from AC. We intend to affirm that, by successfully carrying out a learning process that is characterised by the exploration and exploitation of external knowledge and the organisation's current knowledge base, organisations can realise competitive advantage irrespective of their size.
Method: In the literature search, three approaches were employed, namely academic databases, online search engines and a review of references of related studies which led to more relevant articles and works whose references were further reviewed and analysed. Content analysis was done on all collected articles for quality appraisal and synthesis, the results of which we present as discussions on various sections of this paper leading to answering of our study objective. Only peer-reviewed articles were used.
Results: Our findings reveal that, irrespective of the organisation's size, it can benefit significantly from AC. The study further reveal that AC is a strong predictor of an organisation's performance and hence a strategic asset for the organisation. Organisations with high AC are able to learn how to utilise new knowledge within their processes and come up with changes that improve their competitive advantage.
Conclusion: We submit that, because AC is a strong predictor of an organisation's performance, it is imperative that the necessary measures are taken to improve the levels of AC for all firms, irrespective of their size.
A tool to increase information-processing capacity for consumer water meter data : original researchSource: South African Journal of Information Management 14, pp 1 –7 (2012)More Less
Background: Water service providers invoice most South African urban consumers for the water they use every month. A secure treasury system generates water invoices at municipalities' financial departments. Information about the water usage of customers initially comes from reading the water meters, usually located in gardens near the front boundaries of properties. Until as recently as 1990, the main purpose of the water meter readings was to generate invoices for water usage. There are various treasury systems for this purpose.
Objective: The objective of this research article was to describe the development of Swift, a locally developed software tool for analysing water meter data from an information management perspective, which engineers in the water field generally use, and to assess critically the influence of Swift on published research and industry. This article focuses on water usage and the challenge of data interchange and extraction as issues that various industries face.
Method: This article presents the first detailed report on Swift. It uses a detailed knowledge review and presents and summarises the findings chronologically. Results: The water meter data flow path used to be quite simple. The risk of breaches in confidentiality was limited. Technological advances over the years have led to additional knowledge coming from the same water meter readings with subsequent research outputs. However, there are also complicated data flow paths and increased risks. Users have used Swift to analyse more than two million consumers' water meter readings to date. Studies have culminated in 10 peer-reviewed journal articles using the data. Seven of them were in the last five years.
Conclusion: Swift-based data was the basis of various research studies in the past decade. Practical guidelines in the civil engineering fraternity for estimating water use in South Africa have incorporated knowledge from these studies. Developments after 1995 have increased the information processing capacity for water meter data.
Using communities of practice towards the next level of knowledge-management maturity : original researchSource: South African Journal of Information Management 14, pp 1 –9 (2012)More Less
Background : Effective communities of practice undoubtedly impact organisations' knowledge management and contribute towards building a learning-organisation culture. Communities of practice represent an environment conducive to learning and for exchanging ideas, and they are a formal learning forum. However, the level of organisational learning to which communities of practice contribute is difficult to measure.
Objectives : The research was conducted to analyse the impact of communities of practice on building a learning organisation. The organisational system, culture and people offer the key towards leveraging knowledge as a strategic resource in a learning organisation. The awareness of the organisation concerning knowledge management was measured on a replicated knowledge-management maturity model.
Method : The organisational knowledge base was analysed prior to the implementation of the communities of practice and was compared to the situation three years later. The research was based on experiential learning cycles that consisted of five consequential but perpetual stages, namely reflect, plan, act, observe and reflect again.
Results : The results indicated that communities of practice were instrumental in leveraging the organisation to the next level in the knowledge-management maturity model. A collaboration framework was developed for each business unit to work towards a common goal by harnessing the knowledge that was shared.
Conclusion : Although a positive impact by communities of practice is visible, an instrument for the measurement of intellectual capital is necessary. It is recommended that the monetary value of knowledge as an asset is determined so that the value of the potential intellectual capital can be measured.
Knowledge sharing through social media : investigating trends and technologies in a global marketing and advertising research company : original researchSource: South African Journal of Information Management 14, pp 1 –7 (2012)More Less
Background : The purpose of this study was to investigate social media technology trends in Nielsen - a global information and measurement company - and to establish how these technologies can help the company to create a knowledge-sharing culture.
Objective : The objective of this study was to investigate trends in knowledge-sharing technologies in Nielsen.
Method : The researchers distributed semi-structured questionnaires to a sample of employees in Nielsen's Television Audience Measurement Department. They also conducted interviews with specific employees in this department to gain a better understanding of employees' attitudes toward, and perceptions of, the use of social media tools for creating a knowledge-sharing culture at Nielsen. The researchers validated the data to see whether it could support the research and used triangulation to create a holistic view of the data they received from the questionnaires.
Results : The findings of the study revealed that respondents had a positive attitude to sharing knowledge with one another through using social media tools. However, some respondents thought that technology, in general, was 'the tree of good and evil'. The survey findings showed that Nielsen did have social media tools. However, not all employees were aware of these tools or were willing to use the tools to share knowledge. This study highlighted the possible advantages of the social media for sharing knowledge and how Nielsen could use the tools more widely.
Conclusion : In order for a knowledge sharing culture to thrive at Nielsen, its employees need to engage more with social media tools in their business practices.
Proposing a competitive intelligence (CI) framework for Public Service departments to enhance service delivery : original researchAuthor Nisha SewdassSource: South African Journal of Information Management 14, pp 1 –13 (2012)More Less
Background : The aim of public service departments in South Africa is to improve service delivery through the transformation and improvement of human resources and the improvement of service delivery practices. Furthermore, it is important for the public service sector in South Africa to improve the quality of its service delivery, not only by comparing its performance with other sectors within South Africa but also by positioning itself amongst the best in the world. This can be achieved by benchmarking with other global industries and by implementing the most recent competitive intelligence strategies, tools and techniques. The environment of the public service organisations consists of competitive forces that impact the functioning of these organisations.
Objectives : This article focuses on proposing competitive intelligence-related strategies, tools and techniques for gathering and analysing information in the public service departments in South Africa in order to enhance service delivery.
Method : The study was qualitative in nature and was divided into two components, namely, (1) theoretical - through an extensive review of the literature and (2) empirical - an ethnographic study at the chosen public service department, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). Ethnographic interviews with management-level staff, focus groups and document analysis were used to obtain adequate information to determine the current state of public service delivery in South Africa.
Results : The results of the study was the development of a new competitive intelligence-related framework for gathering and analysing information, and it represents a formal and systematic process of informing managers in public service departments about critical issues that these departments face or are likely to experience in future.
Conclusion : The strategic planning tools and techniques of this framework will fill the gap that exists in public service departments. Once this framework has been implemented, it could assist these departments to improve service delivery to its citizens.
Source: South African Journal of Information Management 14, pp 1 –15 (2012)More Less
Background : This article is part of a doctoral research study that, amongst others, assessed e-records readiness and examined the current records management practices in labour organisations in Botswana.
Objective : The main objective of the study was to examine records management practices in labour organisations in Botswana.
Methods : A quantitative paradigm largely guided this study. The researchers used a survey research strategy. Methodological triangulation of both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods complemented the strategy. The researchers surveyed all of the 50 registered labour organisations in Botswana. Of these, 45 responded. This is a response rate of 90%. The researchers obtained their data through structured questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, document reviews and observations.
Results : The study showed that labour organisations in Botswana had some form of records management function. However, the management of both paper-based and electronic records was not satisfactory and fell short of the best-recognised records management standards and practices.
Conclusion : Although the researchers limited the study to labour organisations, it sheds light on the challenges of managing records that most organisations in Botswana face. Its results provide useful strategic recommendations to promote effective records management in labour organisations in Botswana and elsewhere in Africa.
Source: South African Journal of Information Management 14, pp 1 –11 (2012)More Less
Objectives : The study examined and identified the factors that affect lawyers' attitudes to knowledge sharing, and their knowledge sharing behaviour. Specifically, it investigated the relationship between the salient beliefs affecting the knowledge sharing attitude of lawyers', and applied a modified version of the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) in the knowledge sharing context, to predict how these factors affect their knowledge sharing behaviour.
Method : A field survey of 273 lawyers was carried out, using questionnaire for data collection. Collected data on all variables were structured into grouped frequency distributions. Principal Component Factor Analysis was applied to reduce the constructs and Simple Regression was applied to test the hypotheses. These were tested at 0.05% level of significance.
Results : Results showed that expected associations and contributions were the major determinants of lawyers' attitudes towards knowledge sharing. Expected reward was not significantly related to lawyers' attitudes towards knowledge sharing. A positive attitude towards knowledge sharing was found to lead to a positive intention to share knowledge, although a positive intention to share knowledge did not significantly predict a positive knowledge sharing behaviour. The level of Information Technology (IT) usage was also found to significantly affect the knowledge sharing behaviour of lawyers'.
Conclusion : It was recommended that law firms in the study area should deploy more IT infrastructure and services that encourage effective knowledge sharing amongst lawyers.
Source: South African Journal of Information Management 14, pp 1 –9 (2012)More Less
Background : A striking feature of the knowledge management (KM) literature is that the standard list of KM processes either subsumes or overlooks the process of knowledge seeking. Knowledge seeking is manifestly under-theorised, making the need to address this gap in KM theory and practice clear and urgent.
Objectives : This article investigates the theoretical status of the knowledge-seeking process in extant KM models and frameworks. It also statistically describes knowledge seeking and knowledge sharing practices in a sample of South African companies. Using this data, it proposes a KM model based on knowledge seeking.
Method : Knowledge seeking is traced in a number of KM models and frameworks with a specific focus on Han Lai and Margaret Graham's adapted KM cycle model, which separates knowledge seeking from knowledge sharing. This empirical investigation used a questionnaire to examine knowledge seeking and knowledge sharing practices in a sample of South African companies.
Results : This article critiqued and elaborated on the adapted KM cycle model of Lai and Graham. It identified some of the key features of knowledge seeking practices in the workplace. It showed that knowledge seeking and sharing are human-centric actions and that seeking knowledge uses trust and loyalty as its basis. It also showed that one cannot separate knowledge seeking from knowledge sharing.
Conclusion : The knowledge seeking-based KM model elaborates on Lai and Graham's model. It provides insight into how and where people seek and share knowledge in the workplace. The article concludes that it is necessary to cement the place of knowledge seeking in KM models as well as frameworks and suggests that organisations should apply its findings to improving their knowledge management strategies.
Integrated Financial Management Information Systems : guidelines for effective implementation by the public sector of South Africa : original researchAuthor Christoffel J. HendriksSource: South African Journal of Information Management 14, pp 1 –9 (2012)More Less
Background : Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (IFMIS) can improve public sector management by providing real-time financial information to managers in order to enhance their decision-making capabilities. The South African Public Service is currently busy with the implementation of an IFMIS. However, the implementation of such a project has proved to be a very demanding undertaking and has not been met with resounding success.
Objectives : The research was conducted in order to identify the challenges and risks that are involved in the implementation of the IFMIS in South Africa. After identification of the challenges and risks, solutions or guidelines were developed that may make the implementation more successful.
Method : The methodology that was used is that of a literature study where theories were explored and used to solve a research problem. Based on the theoretical research, solutions and guidelines were developed to solve challenges and risks experienced.
Results : The results indicated that there are a number of challenges involved with the implementation of an IFMIS. A set of best practice guidelines was developed that may make the implementation more successful.
Conclusion : The sheer size and complexity of an IFMIS poses significant challenges and a number of risks to the implementation process. There are, however, critical success factors or best practices that can be used for the project to succeed. It is recommended that these best practices be used by the South African Public Service.
Author Rene PellissierSource: South African Journal of Information Management 14, pp 1 –14 (2012)More Less
Background : As our world becomes more global and competitive yet less predictable, the focus seems to be increasingly on looking to innovation activities to remain competitive. Although there is little doubt that a nation's competitiveness is embedded in its innovativeness, the complex environment should not be ignored. Complexity is not accounted for in balance sheets or reported in reports; it becomes entrenched in every activity in the organisation. Innovation takes many forms and comes in different shapes.
Objectives : The study objectives were, firstly, to establish the determinants for complexity and how these can be addressed from a design point of view in order to ensure innovation success and, secondly, to determine how this changes innovation forms and applications.
Method : Two approaches were offered to deal with a complex environment - one allowing for complexity for organisational innovation and the other introducing reductionism to minimise complexity. These approaches were examined in a qualitative study involving case studies, open-ended interviews and content analysis between seven developing economy (South African) organisations and seven developed economy (US) organisations.
Results : This study presented a proposed framework for (organisational) innovation in a complex environment versus a framework that minimises complexity. The comparative organisational analysis demonstrated the importance of initiating organisational innovation to address internal and external complexity, with the focus being on the leadership actions, their selected operating models and resultant organisational innovations designs, rather than on technological innovations.
Conclusion : This study cautioned the preference for technological innovation within organisations and suggested alternative innovation forms (such as organisational and management innovation) be used to remain competitive in a complex environment.
Source: South African Journal of Information Management 14, pp 1 –8 (2012)More Less
Background : This article underscores the fact that society is becoming more and more knowledge-based, and that the organisations that can identify, value, create and evolve their knowledge assets are likely to be more successful than those that do not. Knowledge management (KM) is about enhancing the use of organisational knowledge through sound practices of KM and organisational learning. KM practices encompass the capture and/or acquisition of knowledge, its retention and organisation, its dissemination and re-use, and lastly responsiveness to the new knowledge.
Objective : The focus of this study was on KM principles and practices that may be in place in the Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY). The argument is that KM and its survival principles and tools may help the College to improve performance. However, there is uncertainty about whether the use of KM principles and tools can partly solve the College's approach to improving the quality of education it provides.
Methods :A mixed methods research methodology encompassing a questionnaire, observation, interviews, and use of institutional documents was used in the investigation.
Results : The findings of the study indicate that KM concepts were not universally understood at MCNY.
Conclusion : There is a need to create a knowledge inventory at MCNY. This may help the College to develop appropriate institution-wide policies and practices for proper and well organised methods of integrating work processes, collaborating and sharing (including the efficient use of social media), and developing an enabling institutional culture.
eThekwini Municipality's intranet for augmenting knowledge-sharing in the organisation : original researchAuthor Udo R. AverwegSource: South African Journal of Information Management 14, pp 1 –6 (2012)More Less
Background: The age of technology, where information and knowledge perform important roles in the organisational context, creates an opportunity for local government organisations (such as metropolitan municipalities) in South Africa to support knowledge-sharing. One such technology that supports knowledge-sharing is an intranet. If an intranet is not effectively managed, knowledge-sharing in an organisation shall not be augmented.
Objective: To investigate whether or not an intranet augments knowledge-sharing in the selected organisation of eThekwini Municipality.
Methods: In this study a quantitative research approach was adopted.
Results: The results of this survey suggest that firstly the intranet appears to be at a medium maturity level; secondly, whilst there is information sharing, the intranet does not appear to be effective as a knowledge-sharing structure; and thirdly there appears to be scope for improvement of the content on the intranet. The implication thereof is that eThekwini Municipality's recently formed Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE) may be ideally poised to address the identified shortcomings.
Conclusion: Intranet technology plays an important role in an organisation by enabling the effective acquisition, sharing and presentation of knowledge. Because of this an intranet must be effectively managed to readily augment knowledge-sharing in the organisational context of local government organisations (such as metropolitan municipalities) in South Africa.