Learning & knowledge : critical elements to sustained competitive advantage

Weitsz, Marijke (Marijke Adriana) (2003)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The increased rate of competitive challenges imposed on organisations by global economy, technological product changes, processes (Dixon, 1992; Dodgson, 1993), and abundance of information available (Huber 1991) necessitate organisations to unlearn, learn and relearn faster than others to survive. The development of sustainable competitive advantages is a vital management function and an important organisational requirement is to nurture learning and create new knowledge enabling organisations to exploit, develop and utilise resources better than rivals do. This paper originated from the need identified in my company that learning and use of new knowledge are essential elements to sustain competitive advantage. At the moment this is not the case and the challenges imposed on the organisation regarding technological advancements and rapid local and global environmental changes, has already negatively impacted the organisation's competitive position. Today learning is being experiences as just another expense and the use of new knowledge is not visible, as a matter of fact knowledge is being confused with information. Information is being "recycled"; in other words more of the same is shared and used within the organisation. Hardly any new knowledge is generated as the same minds that created problems are being used to solve them. In my opinion both learning and knowledge are strategic organisational requirements which must be nurtured and managed to (i) ensure return on investments, and (ii) strengthen the organisations future competitive position. The focus of the paper is to contribute to a deeper understanding of learning and knowledge, the linkage between individuals, organisations and learning loop approaches. Barriers preventing learning and use of knowledge will be identified as well as how the use of knowledge forms the foundation to achieve sustained competitive advantages to outsmart, outmaneuver and outwit the competition. Keywords: Knowledge; learning; organisational learning; competitive advantage; learning approaches, organisational barriers.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die snel veranderende kompeterende uitdagings waaraan maatskappy vandag blootgestel word, bv globalisering, ekonomiese impak, tegnologiese produk en proses veranderinge asook die oorvloed inligting wat beskikbaar is, vereis dat maatskappye hul leerprosesse mbt "unlearn, learn and relearn" vinniger moet toepas om kompterend te bly. Die ontwikkeling van kompeterende voordele is 'n kern bestuursfunksie en 'n belangrike voorvereiste tov die organisatoriese leerproses en skepping van nuwe kennis om 'n voorsprong bo die konkurrente te bewerkstellig. Die oorspronklike idee vir die skripsie het binne my eie maatskappy ontstaan, waar die tekortkominge mbt die gefokusde daarstelling en gebruik van nuwe kennis, vir die behoud van 'n mark leierskap posisie, tans nie sigbaar is nie. Die snel veranderende tegnologiese en ekonomiese eksterne omgewing het reeds 'n negatiewe en detrimentele impak op die maatskappy gehad. Vandag is die leerkurwe en gebruik van nuwe kennis binne die maatskappy nie 'n fokus area nie. Kennis word tans met inligting verwar en dieselfde persone verantwoordelik vir die oorsaak/skep van probleme word gebruik om probleme op te los, maw inligting word "gehersirkuleer" binne die maatskappy. Die doel van die skripsie is om 'n bydrae te maak mbt die raakvlakke tussen die onderskeie leer benaderings, kennis, individue en die maatskappy en hoe die onderskeie benaderings by die leerproses inpas. Hindernisse wat die gebruik van kennis kan inhibeer en beperk word ge-identifiseer en laastens word die fokus op hoe die gebruik van kennis en kundigheid die basis kan vorm vir die verkryging van onderhoudende kompeterende voordele, geplaas.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/53485
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