The role of organised information and tacit knowledge in the survival and success of small enterprises in developing communities

Magagula, Nomcebo Faith (2002-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In the business sector of the Information Society, information plays a crucial role in giving an enterprise a competitive advantage. Information as a resource in a small enterprise includes internally produced information, information obtained from the external environment as well as the knowledge residing in people's heads. However, this information and knowledge needs to be processed and recorded in physical formats for the purposes of decision-making and problem solving as it is part of the information resources of the small enterprise. This study explored the extent of information and knowledge management in developing communities' small enterprises in pursuit of survival and success. A deeper understanding of the business information needs, sources of information, frustrations and problems were investigated in order to establish and meet the specific needs of small enterprises in developing communities. More specifically, the objective of the study was to promote effective information organisation in small enterprises, with special reference to developing communities, as a means to support economic and social development of South Africa. For data gathering, a questionnaire was developed and distributed to owner/managers of 17 small enterprises in Kayamandi, a developing community in the Stellenbosch area. The purpose was to determine owner/managers's needs with regard to information organisation and to identify existing systems, tools and procedures that might be appropriate for this sector. The results indicated the absence or insufficient business education of owner/managers in Kayamandi, which has a damaging effect on their ability to acquire the information they need for their daily business work and operational activities. Moreover, the owner/managers do most of their information gathering using a variety of informal sources, and that information is not organised in information packages. This, in tum, affects their business development. Information should interact with tacit knowledge to improve the quality of work. In addition, the oral tradition should be promoted because it plays an important role in the daily running of the small enterprises in developing communities. In that sense, owner/managers should create an environment that can assist in knowledge sharing from various information sources. Maintaining such knowledge as information in retrieval based information systems could assist owner/managers in the overall functioning of their businesses because they are faced with the challenge of responding effectively to changing customer expectations. An affordable information system model is recommended and structured to fit owner/manager's work habits. The arrangement of information resources in the system can be used for categorisation of information either in a manual or electronic system.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In die sakesektor van die Inligtingsamelewing speel inligting 'n kritieke rol om aan 'n onderneming 'n mededingende voorsprong te bied. Inligting as hulpbron in 'n klein onderneming sluit in intern-geproduseerde inligting, inligting wat uit die eksterne omgewing verkry word, asook die kennis wat in mense se koppe is. Dié inligting moet egter verwerk en vasgelê word in fisiese formate met die oog op besluitneming en probleemoplossing, aangesien dit deel is van die inligtingshulpbronne van die klein onderneming. Hierdie studie verken die omvang van inligtings- en kennisbestuur in ontwikkelende gemeenskappe se klein sake-ondernemings met die oog op oorlewing en sukses. 'n Dieper begrip is gesoek van die sake-inligtingsbehoeftes, bronne van inligting, frustrasies en probleme ten einde die spesifieke behoeftes van 'n klein onderneming te bepaal en daaraan te voldoen. Meer bepaald was die doel van die studie om effektiewe inligtingsorganisering in klein ondernemings te bevorder, met spesifieke verwysing na ontwikkelende gemeenskappe, as 'n manier om ekonomiese en sosiale ontwikkeling in Suid-Afrika te bevorder. Met die oog op dataversameling is 'n vraelys ontwikkel en versprei onder eienaarslbestuurders van 17 klein ondernemings in Kayamandi, 'n ontwikkelende gemeenskap in die Stellenbosch-gebied. Die doel was om eienaars/bestuurders se behoeftes met betrekking tot inligtingsorganisering te bepaal en stelsels, werktuie en prosedures te identifiseer wat vir hierdie sektor toepaslik sou wees. Die uitslae dui op die afwesigheid of ontoereikendheid van sake-opleiding onder die eienaars/bestuurders in Kayamandi, wat 'n skadelike uitwerking het op hul vermoë om die nodige inligting te bekom vir hul daaglikse sake-bedrywighede en operasionele aktiwiteite. Verder hanteer die eienaarslbestuurders grotendeels hul eie inligtingsversameling deur gebruik te maak van 'n verskeidenheid informele bronne, en hierdie inligting word nie in inligtingspakkette georganiseer nie. Dit beïnvloed op sy beurt hul sake-ontwikkeling. Inligting behoort in wisselwerking te wees met versweë kennis ten einde die kwaliteit van werk te verbeter. Daarby behoort die mondelinge tradisie bevorder te word, want dit speel 'n belangrike rol in die daaglikse bestuur van die klein sake-ondernemings in ontwikkelende gemeenskappe. In daardie opsig behoort eienaars/bestuurders 'n omgewing te skep wat kan help met kennisdeling vanuit verskeie inligtingsbronne. Die instandhouding van sulke kennis as inligting in herwinningsgebaseerde inligtingstelsels, sou eienaarslbestuurders kon help in die algehele funksionering van hulondernemings, want hulle staar die uitdaging in die gesig om effektief te reageer op veranderende klanteverwagtinge. 'n Bekostigbare inligtingstelselmodel word aanbeveel en gestruktureer om by eienaarslbestuurders se werksgewoontes te pas. Die rangskikking van inligtingsbronne in die stelsel kan gebruik word vir die kategorisering van inligting óf in 'n hand- óf in 'n elektroniese stelsel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/53162
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