Mousaion - Volume 33, Issue 1, 2015
Volumes & issues
Volume 33, Issue 1, 2015
Impact of organisational culture on internal knowledge production : a case study of the Africa Institute of South AfricaSource: Mousaion 33, pp 1 –22 (2015)More Less
This article reports on a study that investigated the impact of organisational culture on internal knowledge production and assessed the challenges of producing knowledge at the Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA), which is seen as a model knowledge producing think tank in sub-Saharan Africa. The broad objectives of the study were: identifying AISA's achievements in knowledge production; finding out the challenges AISA confronts in producing knowledge; examining how AISA's organisational culture impacts on internal knowledge production; and suggesting ways in which knowledge production at AISA and other think tanks may be improved. A case study was conducted and self-administered questionnaires, face-to-face interviews, document analysis, and observation were used to collect data. The findings showed that AISA's knowledge production efforts are confronted by several challenges, including: organisational culture and employees' negative attitudes towards sharing knowledge freely, and employees encountering difficulties in finding the information and knowledge they need. If these challenges could be identified and clearly confined, it is argued that AISA would be in a better position to effectively produce and utilise knowledge, enabling it to achieve its objectives more efficiently. It is recommended that AISA acquire knowledge from external sources; produce knowledge internally which it uses and is used by its clientele; and establish itself as a knowledge-based organisation by creating a knowledge friendly culture as a framework for addressing the issue of organisational culture. The study results will hopefully lay a foundation for understanding ways of improving knowledge production at AISA and thus influence positive public policy in sub-Saharan Africa.
Role of librarians in teaching information literacy in Zimbabwean and South African universities : a comparative studyAuthor Tinashe MugwisiSource: Mousaion 33, pp 23 –42 (2015)More Less
Information and communications technologies (ICTs) and the Internet have to a large extent influenced the way information is made available, published and accessed. More information is being produced too frequently and information users now require certain skills to sift through this multitude in order to identify what is appropriate for their purposes. Computer and information skills have become a necessity for all academic programmes. As libraries subscribe to databases and other peer-reviewed content (print and electronic), it is important that users are also made aware of such sources and their importance. The purpose of this study was to examine the teaching of information literacy (IL) in universities in Zimbabwe and South Africa, and the role played by librarians in creating information literate graduates. This was done by examining whether such IL programmes were prioritised, their content and how frequently they were reviewed. An electronic questionnaire was distributed to 12 university libraries in Zimbabwe and 21 in South Africa. A total of 25 questionnaires were returned. The findings revealed that IL was being taught in universities library and non-library staff, was compulsory and contributed to the term mark in some institutions. The study also revealed that 44 per cent of the total respondents indicated that the libraries were collaborating with departments and faculty in implementing IL programmes in universities. The study recommends that IL should be an integral part of the university programmes in order to promote the use of databases and to guide students on ethical issues of information use.
Documenting indigenous knowledge about Africa's complementary and alternative medicine : a cause for concern?Source: Mousaion 33, pp 43 –59 (2015)More Less
This article explores the global debates concerning documenting indigenous knowledge (IK) about Africa's complementary and alternative medicine (e-ACAM). The article further explores whether it is possible to document both the common and uncommon knowledge about e-ACAM given that the uncommon knowledge of e-ACAM is practised secretly as it is a source of livelihood for traditional medicine practices. The framework presented in the article stems from the notion that the ethnopharmacological information of medicinal plants is fast disappearing and in view of the rapid loss of such knowledge, its documentation as well as a better understanding of its botanico-historical roots has become an essential task. With further theoretical research it is revealed that the uncommon aspect of e-ACAM may be difficult or impossible to document as it encompasses secret knowledge. The article proposes measures within intellectual property rights (IPR) in the form of patents that could be implemented in order to document those types of e-ACAM that embrace secrecy and are a source of livelihood for traditional medicine practices.
Organisational learning as a knowledge retention strategy in selected public broadcasting corporations in the Southern African Development CommunityAuthor Peterson DewahSource: Mousaion 33, pp 60 –79 (2015)More Less
This article reports on a study that assessed the organisational learning activities for the purposes of retaining critical knowledge in three Southern African Development Community (SADC) public broadcasting organisations. The article reports the partial findings of a doctoral study that focused on analysing the knowledge retention strategies in three public broadcasting corporations, namely, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Department of Broadcasting Services (DBS) and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), in the SADC. The aim of the study was to establish how organisational learning strategy captured and retained knowledge in these public broadcasting corporations. A structured self-administered survey questionnaire was used to purposively sample 162 professionals and managers in the three organisations. The study concluded that through organisational learning the three public broadcasting organisations captured and retained knowledge but were limited by the lack of knowledge management officials. The study recommends the establishment of knowledge officers' posts to manage the organisational knowledge and to implement sound mentorship programmes to assist learning in these organisations. While the Human Resources (HR) departments may be managing the training of individuals as a way of acquiring knowledge, the study further recommends that the management should provide HR with more funds to improve the learning culture that allows for innovation, continuous knowledge creation and transformation.
'I don't want to be carried like luggage' : disability and physical access to Tanzanian academic librariesSource: Mousaion 33, pp 80 –102 (2015)More Less
This article reports on an empirical study which investigated access for people in wheelchairs and/or with visual impairments to Tanzanian academic libraries. A pragmatism paradigm and Oliver's (1990) social model of disability were employed as well as the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). Using quantitative and qualitative methods, questionnaires, interview schedules and an observation checklist were used to collect data. The study sample from the libraries of five Tanzanian higher education institutions (HEIs) totalled 196 respondents. The respondents were library directors, other professional library and disability unit staff, Ministry of Education's Special Needs Unit staff, and people in wheelchairs and/or with visual impairments. The study found that there were no functioning lifts and/or ramps in the academic libraries studied which could have enabled these users to reach the upper floors where the information resources or services were located. For academic libraries to provide services which are inclusive, as well as certain special services for users with disabilities, various guidelines need to be implemented. Examples include library buildings having working lifts and/or ramps, and signage and location devices appropriate for people with visual impairments. The study findings could be used to improve physical access to these academic libraries.
Diffusion and adoption of information and communication technologies in South African telecentres : selected telecentres in KwaZulu-NatalAuthor Blessing MbathaSource: Mousaion 33, pp 103 –120 (2015)More Less
This study investigated the usage and types of information and communications technologies (ICTs) accessible to community members in four selected Thusong Service Centres (TSCs or telecentres) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). The telecentres that participated in the study were: Nhlazuka, Mbazwane, Dududu and Malangeni. The study was informed by Rogers' (1995) Diffusion of Innovations (DoI) theory. Through a survey, four TSCs were purposively selected. A questionnaire was used to collect data from community members in the four telecentres involved. The data collected was tabulated under the various headings and presented using tables, frequencies, percentiles and generalisations with the help of the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The results indicated that a variety of ICT tools have been adopted in the TSCs to provide the local community with the much-needed access to information and improved communication. The government should ensure that adequate varieties and levels of ICT competence are offered to all the citizens. In conclusion, there is a need for sufficient and coherent government policies regulating the training of the local community to use these ICTs effectively.
Author Williams Ezinwa NwagwuSource: Mousaion 33, pp 121 –152 (2015)More Less
The purpose of this study was to examine the diffusion of electronic books, commonly known as ebooks, among postgraduate students in the arts and technology faculties of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Ebooks have become increasingly popular in recent years, but factors influencing their adoption and use are not understood in many institutions. Guided by a sample survey design, data was collected from 346 postgraduate students, 129 from the arts and 202 from technology, using a questionnaire and an interview schedule. Students from both faculties used ebooks, identified through serendipitous browsing of the Internet, and mainly Google searches. Many of the ebooks they found are not recommended by their lecturers, while those that are recommended are not available free of charge. Students therefore use ebooks mainly to cross-validate and gain extra insights about what they have been taught. There are significant differences between arts and technology students' use of ebooks with respect to cost, ease of use and other aspects, with technology students having the advantage. There is no programme in the university aimed at harvesting and organising ebook resources for students to access. Institutionalising ebooks could be a useful strategy to address the dearth of current and relevant texts in universities, although ebooks may pose challenges to existing library management processes. An ebook revolution will cause great changes in information services in libraries - how would university libraries partner to benchmark this evolving practice with respect to questions about standards, technologies, licensing and pricing, particularly in the developing world?
Application of information and communications technologies in business operations and access to business information by small and medium enterprises in western UgandaSource: Mousaion 33, pp 153 –174 (2015)More Less
Realising the central role that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play in the economic growth of a country and the value of information and communications technology (ICT) application in business transactions, it was found prudent to: investigate the ICT skills of SMEs; identify the ICTs utilised, problems SMEs face when using ICTs as sources and means of access to business information; establish the kind of business information accessed from resource centres/telecentres, public libraries and Internet cafes; and propose strategies to improve on business information access among the SMEs in western Uganda. The study came about after the realisation that there was insignificant growth in businesses among SMEs in western Uganda compared to other parts of the country despite western Uganda being more peaceful than northern Uganda. The study used a quantitative approach with a total of 89 respondents; and established, among others, that most SMEs in western Uganda use mobile phones to transact business and very few use the Internet. SMEs find difficulties in accessing almost all relevant business information. The study recommends the need for establishing telecentres, public libraries and Internet cafes to create business information access portals in order to promote access to relevant business information.