Information and knowledge management in South African law firms - a case study

Ramohlola, Alice Mokgadi (2017-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : This thesis investigates and analyse information and knowledge management systems in a typical large high performing law firm with multiple offices across the African continent. The intended outcome is to draw a full understanding of the lawyers’ interactions with the Information and Knowledge Management (IKM) systems in place and with each other, and any hindrances that may affect these interactions, information flows, knowledge transfer, and overall firm performance. Multinational organizations are complex in nature and have complex operational dynamics as opposed to organizations operating in one country. These dynamics range from issues related to administration and management, coordinated information sharing and knowledge transfer, information technologies and information systems, etc. all of which can be affected positively or negatively by a variety of factors such as distance, language, internet speed, culture, to name just a few. This becomes more so for law firms, multinational law firms in particular, which are the focus of this study. Being information intensive organizations by nature whose sole service offering is legal advice based on quality information and knowledge make such law firms more complex, and therefore a suitable subject of study for this thesis. The thesis concludes that, like all multinational organizations, multinational law firms face similar problems that hinder efficient and effective communication, information flows and knowledge sharing. That if not correctly addressed and managed, these problems can render IKM efforts and initiatives in law firms ineffective.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : In hierdie tesis word die inligting- en kennisbestuurstelsels van ‘n tipiese groot, suksesgedrewe, Afrika-wye prokureursfirma ondersoek. Die doel van die studie is om prokureurs se interaksie met mekaar en met die inligting- en kennisbestuurstelsels (KBS) te begryp, asook die faktore wat hierdie omgang mag belemmer. Anders as nasionale organisasies is multi-nasionale organisasies komplekse stelsels met komplekse operasionele dinamika. Laasgenoemde sluit in administratiewe en bestuursdinamika, gekoördineerde inligtingverspreiding- en kennisoordragprosesse, en inligtingstegnologiee en -stelsels. Faktore soos afstand, taal, Internetspoed en kultuur, om net `n paar te noem, kan die dinamika beinvloed. Dit is veral relevant vir prokureursfirmas – veral multi-nasionale prokureursfirmas – wat die onderwerp van hierdie verhandeling is. Inligtingsensitiewe prokureursfirmas se uitsluitlike doel is om regsdienste te lewer gebaseer op kwaliteit inligting en kennis. Dit maak prokureursfirmas kompleks, en dus `n geskikte onderwerp vir hierdie verhandeling. In die tesis word die slotsom bereik dat multi-nasionale prokureursfirmas soortgelyke probleme as ander multi-nasionale organisasies ervaar. Hierdie probleme kan doeltreffende en effektiewe kommunikasie, die vloei van inligting en kennisoordrag belemmer. As hierdie uitdagings nie aangespreek en bestuur word nie, kan dit die prokureursfirma se KBSinisiatiewe oneffektief laat.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100998
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