Knowledge management practices in Zambian higher education : an exploratory study of three public universities

Kabilwa, Silumesi (2018-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : The knowledge economy forced organisations to rethink the nature of their resources and capability. Increasingly organisations are considering knowledge as a key resource for navigating uncertainty and competing. The field of knowledge management (KM) emerged to help organisations to leverage their organizational knowledge. The first step in this endeavor is to conduct a knowledge management assessment. Higher Education Institutions have not been spared the external pressure to adapt in this new context. One would think that, since higher education deals with knowledge transmission as a core function, these organisations would be at the forefront of knowledge management. The opposite is however true and knowledge management practices are still resisted by academic traditions in universities. The thesis explores the state of knowledge management in higher education institutions in Zambia using a validated knowledge management assessment instrument, called the knowledge vigilance survey, adapted for university contexts. The goal is to uncover the perceptions of managers in these institutions with regard to knowledge management practices, existing knowledge gaps, and the existing knowledge culture. This is achieved by a quantitative research design aimed at the three largest universities in Zambia. A questionnaire was used to survey selected participants and the results were interpreted according to a knowledge management capability assessment tool to determine the state of knowledge management at the three universities under study. A purposive sample size of 82 leaders, of which 55 responses were generated, at executive and managerial level of the University of Zambia, The Copperbelt University and Mulungushi University were selected out of a proposed target population of 103. The findings reveal minor differences between the three universities, but on the whole low scores were recorded for most knowledge management practices at all three universities. Knowledge management at all three universities is in a basic or rudimentary state, which may hinder these institutions from effectively leveraging their knowledge. To improve their situation these institutions should consider introducing explicit knowledge management policies and strategies and cultural change interventions like incentives, communication, and training and mentoring.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die kennisekonomie het organisasies gedwing om die aard van hul hulpbronne en vermoëns te heroorweeg. Organisasies oorweeg kennis toenemend as 'n sleutelhulpbron om onsekerheid te navigeer en mee te ding. Die veld van kennisbestuur (KM) het ontstaan om organisasies te help om hul organisatoriese kennis beter te benut. Die eerste stap in hierdie strewe is gewoonlik om 'n kennisbestuursassessering te doen. Hoëronderwysinstellings is nie die eksterne druk gespaar om in hierdie nuwe konteks aan te pas nie. Mens sou dink dat, aangesien hoër onderwys kennisoordrag as 'n kernfunksie het, organisasies soos universiteite aan die voorpunt van kennisbestuur sou wees. Die teenoorgestelde is egter waar en kennisbestuurspraktyke word steeds deur akademiese tradisies in universiteite aan bande gelê. Die tesis ondersoek die stand van kennisbestuur in hoër onderwysinstellings in Zambië deur gebruik te maak van 'n gevalideerde kennisbestuursassesseringsinstrument, bekend as die "knowledge vigilance survey", aangepas vir niversiteitskonteks. Die doel is om die persepsies van bestuurders in hierdie instellings ten opsigte van kennisbestuurspraktyke, bestaande kennisgapings en die bestaande kenniskultuur te ontbloot. Dit word bereik deur 'n kwantitatiewe navorsingsontwerp wat gemik is op die drie grootste universiteite in Zambië. 'n Vraelys is gebruik om geselekteerde deelnemers te ondervrae en die resultate is geïnterpreteer volgens 'n kennisbestuursvaardigheid assessering instrument om die stand van kennisbestuur by die drie universiteite te bepaal. 'n Doelgerigte steekproefgrootte van 82 leiers op uitvoerende en bestuursvlak by die Universiteit van Zambië, Die Koperbelt Universiteit en Mulungushi Universiteit is gekies uit 'n voorgestelde teikenbevolking van 103. Die bevindings openbaar klein verskille tussen die drie universiteite, maar oor die algemeen is lae tellings vir die meeste kennisbestuurspraktyke by al drie universiteite gemeet. Kennisbestuur by al drie universiteite is in 'n basiese of rudimentêre staat, wat hierdie instellings kan verhinder om hul kennis effektief te benut. Om hul situasie te verbeter, moet hierdie instansies oorweeg om eksplisiete kennisbestuursbeleid en strategieë en intervensies vir kulturele veranderinge soos aansporings, kommunikasie en opleiding en mentorskap in te stel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103714
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