Improving knowledge codification: a case study of a knowledge management initiative at an Australian insurance company

Mugabe, Patrick (2017-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : The thesis presents a case-study of a knowledge management project undertaken in a large Australian insurance company. The project aimed to determine the existing gaps in the organisation's knowledge codification process. The thesis seeks to evaluate the approach adopted by the knowledge management initiative team and to review whether the target audience in the organisation embraced the initiative’s vision and project outcome. This is done by describing the requirements elicitation process, the progression of the project and its working methods, and the participants’ and the targeted beneficiaries’ perceptions of the initiative’s outcome. The primary data were collected through participant observation during team meetings and face-to-face interviews with both participants and beneficiaries. The data from the case study is then interpreted against the background of theoretical literature on knowledge codification. The findings attribute the codification gaps to organisational culture, a focus on project delivery over knowledge codification, and the complex relationship between the technology division and the business units it is supposed to serve. In addition the codification gaps are exacerbated by the large number of tools used, the focus on tools rather than processes, knowledge leakage, a lack of accountability and ownership leading to mistrust of the codified knowledge, and lack of metrics for knowledge use. Problems such as duplication, the use of numerous KM tools, the lack of standardisation, and challenges in searching for content were evident. The thesis makes suggestions for improving the codification process by proposing a model for knowledge management projects of this nature that involves creating interest, gap analysis, idea generation, experimentation, implementation, responsibilities, ownership, and review.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : versekeringsmaatskappy. Die projek is daarop gemik om die bestaande leemtes in die organisasie se kennis-kodifiseringsproses te bepaal. Die tesis evalueer die benadering van die kennisbestuurspan en probeer vasstel of die teikengroep in die organisasie die inisiatief se visie en projekuitkomste aanvaar het. Dit word gedoen deur 'n beskrywing van die proses waardeur vereistes bepaal is, die verloop van die projek en die span se werkswyses, en die persepsies van beide die deelnemers en die begunstigde teikengroep oor die inisiatief se uitkomste. Die primere data is ingesamel deur middel van deelnemende waarneming tydens spanvergaderings en onderhoude met beide deelnemers en begunstigdes. Die data van die gevallestudie word dan geinterpreteer teen die agtergrond van teoretiese literatuur oor kennis-kodifisering. Die bevindinge skryf die kodifiseringsgapings toe aan die organisasiekultuur, 'n fokus op projek uitkomste eerder as kennis-kodifisering en die komplekse verhouding tussen die tegnologie-afdeling en die sake-eenhede wat dit veronderstel is om te dien. Daarbenewens is die kodifisering gapings vererger deur die groot aantal instrumente wat gebruik word, die fokus op tegnieke eerder as prosesse, kennis-lekkasies, 'n gebrek aan aanspreeklikheid en eienaarskap wat lei tot wantroue van die gekodifiseerde kennis, en 'n gebrek aan maatstawwe vir kennisgebruik. Probleme soos duplisering, die gebruik van talle tegnieke en sagteware, die gebrek aan standaardisering en probleme met die soek na inhoud was duidelik in die geval. Die tesis maak voorstelle vir die verbetering van die kodifikasie proses deur 'n model vir kennisbestuursprojekte van hierdie aard voor te stel wat die skep van belangstelling, gapingsanalise, idees, eksperimentering, implementering, verantwoordelikhede, eienaarskap en hersiening behels.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/101136
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