An investigation into the prevalence of knowledge management practices within the libraries of two institutions on the verge of a merger : Cape Technikon and Peninsula Technikon

Khangala, Busisiwe Nobuhle (2004-12)

Assignment (MA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In terms of the Higher Education Act, 1997 (Act No. 101 of 1997: Notice no: 1700), the Cape Technikon and the Peninsula Technikon will merge on 1 January 2005 to become a single institution known as the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. This merger is part of the South African government’s effort to streamline education spending priorities, whilst evening out the differences between historically white and historically black institutions. During the apartheid era the Peninsula Technikon was established mainly for black (i.e. Coloured and African) students and the Cape Technikon for white students. There are a number of problems and challenges that can be expected by these institutions before, during and after the merger. These include, among others, identity crises that might result from the clash of different cultures because of the different backgrounds of these two institutions. If the merger is not handled properly, especially where human and cultural issues are concerned, it might not be successful. Higher education institutions are recognized as being in the knowledge business, and libraries play a central role in this regard. Academic librarians specifically have a significant knowledge management role to play in their institutions. In the case of the Cape Technikon and Peninsula Technikon libraries, it would thus be very important to understand each institution’s culture and what their existing knowledge management practices are, so that by the time of the actual merger they will know how to cooperate productively and effectively. Given the complexity of mergers and their wide ranging ramifications, as well as potential problems that might hamper the smooth operations of the institutions, the aim of this study was to investigate the knowledge management practices of the libraries of these two institutions. Thereafter recommendations were made, based on the findings, as to how to apply knowledge management practices to increase the capabilities of the two institutions’ libraries and enhance their operational efficiency. The methods of investigation were qualitative in nature and comprised questionnaires which were filled in by the librarians of both institutions as well as in-depth interviews with senior staff members of both libraries. The study also made other observations which related to the feel of the environments and people’s attitude which were also quite revealing. Although both libraries displayed knowledge management practices, the Cape Technikon was found to be more advanced in some regards than the Peninsula Technikon. Finally, recommendations were made on how to apply certain specific knowledge management practices successfully after the merger. These included a recommendation that both institutions ensure that there are processes in place to ensure that knowledge is recorded on an ongoing basis.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In terme van die Wet op Hoër Onderwys, 1997 (Wet Nr 101 van 1997: Kennisgewing Nr: 1700), sal die Kaapse Technikon en die Skiereiland Technikon op 1 Januarie 2005 saamsmelt om ’n enkele instelling te word, naamlik die Kaapse Skiereiland Universiteit van Tegnologie. Hierdie samesmelting is deel van die Suid-Afrikaanse regering se poging om die prioriteite op opleidingsuitgawes te stroomlyn, terwyl die verskille tussen wat histories wit en swart instellings was, uitgestryk word. Gedurende die Apartheid era was die Skiereiland Technikon veral vir swart studente (m.a.w. Gekleurdes en Afrikane), en die Kaapse Technikon vir wit studente. Daar is talle probleme en uitdagings wat verwag kan word by hierdie instellings voor, gedurende en na die samesmelting. Hierdie sluit in, onder andere, identiteitskrisisse wat dalk kan opduik as gevolg van die verskillende agtergronde van hierdie twee instellings. As die samesmelting nie behoorlik hanteer word nie, veral wat menslike en kulturele kwessies betref, kan dit onsuksesvol wees. Instellings vir hoër onderwys word erken as in die besigheid van kennis, en biblioteke speel ‘n sentrale rol in hierdie opsig. Spesifiek akademiese bibliotekarisse het ’n rol om te speel in die behandeling, of bestuur, van kennis. In die geval van die Kaapse Technikon en Skiereiland Technikon se biblioteke, sou dit dus baie belangrik wees om elke instelling se kultuur te verstaan, en om hulle huidige metodes van kennisbestuur te ken, sodat dit teen die tyd van die samesmelting moontlik is om produktief en effektief saam te werk. Aangesien samesmeltings kompleks is met verreikende vertakkings, sowel as potensiële probleme wat dalk die gladde werking van die instellings kan verhinder, is die doel van hierdie studie om die praktyke van kennisbestuur in die biblioteke van hierdie twee instellings te ondersoek. Daarna, gebaseer op die bevindings, is voorstelle gemaak met verwysing na die toepassing van kennisbestuurspraktyke, sodat die twee instellings se biblioteke se bekwaamhede kan vermeerder en hul doeltreffendheid verhoog kan word. Die metodes van ondersoek is kwalitatief en bestaan uit vraelyste, ingevul deur senior personeellede van albei instellings. Die studie het ook ander waarnemings gemaak in verband met die atmosfeer of gevoel van die omgewings en mense se houdings, wat ook veelseggend was. Alhoewel beide instellings kennisbestuurspraktyke getoon het, is bevind dat die Kaapse Technikon in sekere opsigte meer gevorderd as die Skiereiland Technikon is. Ten laaste is voorstelle gemaak met verwysing na hoe om sekere spesifieke kennisbestuurspraktyke na die samwsmelting toe te pas. Hierdie het ’n aanbeveling ingesluit dat albei instellings seker moet maak dat prosesse onderweg is om op ’n voortdurende basis boek te hou van kennis.

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