A strategic approach to stimulate post-acquisition knowledge flows

Ballot, Throne (2009-12)

Thesis (MBA (Business Management))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Exxaro Resources is a diversified resources company with a commodity portfolio of coal, mineral sands, base metals and industrial minerals. Exxaro acquired Namakwa Sands in 2008 to increase its market share in the mineral sands industry and to exploit synergies within its mineral sands commodity business. Effective knowledge transfer was identified as an important lever to ensure return on investment with the Namakwa Sands acquisition. The objective of this research project was to follow an academic approach to design a theoretical framework for post-acquisition knowledge transfer to exploit synergies within the Exxaro Sands Commodity Business (CB). A qualitative theory building research method was followed to facilitate the research process and the development of the conceptual framework. Primary data was gathered by conducting interviews with role players within the organisation to understand knowledge transfer requirements and barriers within the Exxaro Sands CB. The interviews were also used to obtain insights into the building blocks of a knowledge sharing strategy and practical inputs on initiatives to implement such a strategy within Exxaro Sands operations. Key findings from the interviews, combined with insights from a comprehensive literature review and strategic analysis of the organisation, were used to compile a conceptual framework for post-acquisition knowledge transfer. The framework consists of the following six interrelated constructs: • Strategy and vision: Knowledge sharing objectives must be aligned with the strategy of the organisation and should be communicated in a compelling knowledge sharing vision. • Culture: A culture conducive to knowledge transfer is required to successfully implement a knowledge-sharing programme. Culture also creates the context for social interaction that enables post-acquisition integration. • Change management: Change management is required to communicate the background, methodology and potential benefits of a knowledge-sharing programme. • Knowledge sharing resources: Knowledge sharing resources are responsible for the execution of knowledge transfer activities. Optimum utilisation of organisational resources is required to ensure operational excellence. • Knowledge sharing processes: The processes construct stipulates how knowledge will be shared and is the key mechanism for facilitating, stimulating, measuring and reinforcing knowledge transfer within the organisation. The six steps identified for the Exxaro Sands knowledge sharing process include the identification, prioritisation and benchmarking of key performance indicators, detailed analysis of the gaps, identification of initiatives to close the gaps and ongoing monitoring to track progress. • Knowledge sharing systems: A range of tools, techniques and supporting infrastructure is required to facilitate the knowledge exchange process. The existence of knowledge sharing systems underpins knowledge sharing success, but cannot achieve the aims of knowledge sharing in isolation. This framework clearly illustrates that knowledge sharing is dependent on more than just the interaction between the holders and receivers of knowledge. A formal systematic process is required to derive maximum benefit. The conceptual framework developed in this study adds value by providing this process – customised for the requirements and context of the Exxaro Sands commodity business. It is important to implement this framework in a structured fashion to provide the objectives, guidelines and milestones required for an effective knowledge-sharing programme.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Exxaro Resources is ‘n gediversifiseerde mynbou maatskappy met ‘n kommoditeitsportefeulje van steenkool, titanium sand, sink en industriële minerale. Exxaro het Namakwa Sands oorgeneem in 2008 om sy markaandeel in die titanium bedryf te vergroot en om waarde uit die sinergieë met ander besighede binne die titanium sand besigheidseenheid te put. Effektiewe kennisoordrag is geïdentifiseer as ‘n belangrike hefboom om waarde te ontsluit na die oorname. Die doel van hierdie navorsingsprojek was om ‘n akademiese benadering te volg om ‘n teoretiese raamwerk te skep vir kennisoordrag wat maksimum waarde kan ontsluit binne die Exxaro Sands Kommoditeit Besigheid. Die gekose navorsingsmetodiek was kwalitatiewe teorie bou. Dit is gebruik om beide die navorsingsproses te fasiliteer en om die konsepsuele raamwerk te ontwikkel. Primêre data is ingesamel deur onderhoude te voer met belangrike rolspelers in die organisasie, wat lig gewerp het op kennisoordrag-vereistes en struikelblokke. Die onderhoude het ook die hoeksteen gevorm vir die kennisoordrag-strategie, en het praktiese insette gelewer oor hoe om die strategie te implementeer by Exxaro Sands. Kritiese bevindinge van die onderhoude, saam met insig uit ‘n omvattende literatuurstudie en strategiese analise van die besigheid is gebruik om die raamwerk vir kennisoordrag te ontwikkel. Die raamwerk bestaan uit die volgende ses interafhanklike afdelings: • Strategie en visie: Doelwitte vir kennisoordrag moet belyn wees met die besigheidstrategie en moet gekommunikeer word deur middel van ‘n aangrypende kennisoordrag visie. • Kultuur: ‘n Kultuur wat kennisdeling onderskraag word benodig om ‘n kennisoordrag-program suksesvol te implementeer. Kultuur skep ook die konteks vir sosiale interaksie wat integrasie van die verskillende besighede aanhelp na ‘n oorname. • Bestuur van verandering: Die bestuur van verandering is onontbeerlik om die agtergrond, metodiek en moontlike voordele van kennisoordrag-programme effektief te kommunikeer. • Kennisoordrag hulpbronne: Kennisoordrag hulpbronne word benodig om die kennisoordrag aktiwiteite uit te voer. Die optimale gebruik van hierdie hulpbronne is noodsaaklik om operasionele voortreflikheid te verseker. • Kennisoordrag prosesse: Die kennisoordrag prosesse dui aan hoe kennis oorgedra sal word en is van kritiese belang vir die fasilitering, stimulasie, meting en versterking van kennisoordrag. Daar is ses stappe geïdentifiseer in die proses, naamlik identifisering, prioritisering en “benchmarking” van sleutel besigheidsdrywers, ‘n analise van die gapings, identifisering van aksies wat die gapings kan uitwis en monitering van inisiatiewe. vii • Kennisoordrag stelsels: ‘n Versameling gereedskapstukke, tegnieke en ondersteunende infrastruktuur word benodig om die kennisoordrag-prosesse te ondersteun. Alhoewel die stelsels die prosesse onderskraag kan dit kennisoordrag nie in isolasie laat plaasvind nie. Die raamwerk illustreer dat kennisoordrag binne en tussen organisasies afhanklik is van veel meer as net die interaksie tussen die houers en ontvangers van kennis. ‘n Formele, sistematiese benadering word benodig om maksimum waarde te ontsluit. Die konseptuele raamwerk wat in hierdie studie ontwikkel is verskaf hierdie benadering, en is doelgerig vir die gebruik en konteks binne die Exxaro Sands Kommoditeit Besigheid. ‘n Gestruktureerde implementeringsproses word benodig om te verseker dat die doelwitte, riglyne en mylpale vir effektiewe kennisoordrag bereik word.

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