An analysis of the knowledge management systems in an organization with a center-periphery knowledge management landscape

Dube, Ratidzo (2017-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : The thesis is an analysis of the knowledge management systems in AIDORG1 as a prominent example of an organization with a center-periphery knowledge management landscape. Typically such a landscape involves a central head office, the locus of policy and funding, and various peripheral field offices, the loci of projects and practices. A review of the literature on knowledge management systems, in particular in multi-national organizations, showed that to realize the benefits of knowledge management in the organization, an inclusive view of the knowledge management system is needed that goes further than merely technological aspects to also include cultural, managerial and organizational ones. Two views of knowledge managements are introduced, namely practice and content (possession) view. It is argued that a possession view of knowledge management is usually primarily technology focused, whilst a practice based view tends to include more organizational aspects. Thereafter the knowledge management system at AIDORG is described in terms of Becerra-Fernandez’s knowledge management framework. Through participant observation and a user survey, the actual operation of the knowledge management system at AIDORG is revealed. It was found that even though the organization has invested a lot in the knowledge management system, it is not particularly effective in terms of periphery participation in the system. The center is using the knowledge management system more consistently than the periphery and whilst there are technological infrastructure and tools available for periphery participation in the knowledge management system, the character of periphery participation is mostly directed at knowledge discovery and application, rather than creation and sharing. Taken together, the design of the knowledge management system is to facilitate the movement of information and decisions from the center towards the periphery and is marked by scant consideration of the practices and their associated knowledge management problems at the periphery. It is concluded that, since the periphery is where the organization’s practices are embedded, a knowledge management approach with a practice perspective could encourage fuller and more rounded periphery participation in knowledge management and might lead to the desired two way interaction between center and periphery. The notion of communities of practice is identified as a possible starting point for redressing the balance in center-periphery knowledge management landscapes.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die tesis is ‘n analise van die kennisbestuurstelsel van AIDORG as ‘n prominente voorbeeld van ‘n organisasie met ‘n sentrum-periferie kennisbestuurslandskap. Tipies bestaan so ‘n landskap uit ‘n sentrale hoofkantoor, die lokus van beleid en befondsing, en verskeie takkantore op die periferie, die loki van projekte en praktyke. In ‘n literatuuroorsig van kennisbestuurstelsel, inbesonders multinasionale organisasies, word gedemonstreer dat ‘n inklusiewe siening van kennisbestuurstelsels wat kulturele-, bestuurs-, en organisatoriese-aspekte met die tegnologiese aspekte saamdink, ‘n vereiste is om die volle voordele van ‘n kennisbestuurstelsel te realiseer. Twee sienings van kennisbestuur, die een gerig op praktyke en die ander op inhoud word gekontrasteer en daarop gewys dat die inhoudsgerigte siening gewoonlik meer tegnologies gefokus is, terwyl die praktykgerigte siening gewoonlik ook die ander organisatoriese elemente insluit. Daarna word die gevallestudie van AIDORG beskryf deur die kennisbestuursisteem in terme van Becerra-Fernandez se kennisbestuursraamwerk uit te pak. Deur deelnemende observasie en ‘n gebruikersvraelys, word die werkswyse van die kennisbestuurstelsel in die praktyk ontbloot. Daar is gevind dat alhoewel die organisasie baie in die kennisbestuurstelsel investeer het, die stelsel nie werklik effektief is in terme van periferale deelname in die stelsel nie. Die sentrum gebruik die stelsel meer as die periferie en alhoewel daar tegnologiese infrastruktuur beskikbaar is vir periferie deelname, word sulke deelname gekaraktiseer deur kennis-ontdekking en kennis-toepassing, eerder as kennis-skepping en kennis-deling. Saamgevat, die ontwerp van die kennisbestuurstelsel is hoofsaaklik om die beweging van informasie en besluite vanaf die sentrum na die periferie te ondersteun en dit word gekenmerk deur geen oorweging van die praktyke en gepaardgaande kennisbestuursprobleme in die periferie nie. Omdat die periferie is waar die organisasie se praktyke ingebed is, is die gevolgtrekking dat ‘n praktykgerigte kennisbestuursbenadering waarskynlik groter en meer volronde periferie deelname sal aanmoedig en dalk kan lei tot gewensde tweerigting interaksie tussen sentrum en periferie. Die idee van praktykgemeenskappe is geidentifiseer as ‘n moontlike aanknopingspunt om die balans in die sentrum-periferie kennisbestuurslandskap te herstel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100800
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