Modelling knowledge security : knowledge security as a knowledge management problem

Shear, Christopher James (2021-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2021.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : For today’s organisations, knowledge has become a highly valuable resource, one that is often critical for competitive success. As such, a variety of methods and approaches have surfaced in recent decades, coalescing into what has become known as knowledge management (KM). The purpose of KM is largely focused on using various mechanisms and technologies to promote the discovery, capture, sharing and application of knowledge to derive value. Yet, while many studies address how knowledge should be leveraged more openly, fewer have focused on how best to secure it. This poses a risk to organisations, due to the increasing complexity of the intelligence-gathering mechanisms employed by those seeking to gain this knowledge for their advantage. In response, the idea of knowledge security has emerged as a mechanism to counter this risk. From an academic perspective, it has largely been grounded in information security theory. This has occurred because of the convergence that has taken place between information systems and KM, with security having taken a largely explicit focus. While beneficial in some ways, this approach is also somewhat problematic for a couple of reasons. Firstly, knowledge can extend beyond the explicit and is often found in intangible tacit forms, which may not be covered by taking a pure information security-driven approach. Thus, not having a comprehensive understanding of the measures needed to secure organisational knowledge at each dimension of KM activity, and vice versa, can make knowledge more vulnerable to compromise. Secondly, this creates a dichotomy between KM activity, predominantly centred on the amplification and distribution of knowledge and current security practices, which aim to limit and control access to processes. It is also a symptom indicative of the deeper question about knowledge in organisations, in terms of how it should best be retained, protected, and managed, in a balanced manner. Thus, the study focuses on overcoming this discrepancy by imposing the meta-question of knowledge security upon KM theory. The objective of the research is to advance the body of knowledge, by contributing to it in the form of a better understanding of how knowledge security can be conceptualised as a KM problem and be presented as a model. It is hoped that in doing so, it will set the foundation for future research on this topic and that it will contribute to solidifying knowledge security as part of the broader set of KM processes. To achieve these research objectives, the research design is structured to focus on three components. The first is a theoretical analysis centred on an examination of the literature related to organisational knowledge, KM, and knowledge security. The second is an empirical analysis focused on identifying the relationship between security and knowledge in practice. The third is combining the insights gained from the first two components and using these inputs to design a conceptual model outlining the relationship between knowledge security and KM. This process culminated in the development of a conceptual model of knowledge security that highlights its relationship with KM.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Vir hedendaagse organisasies het kennis 'n baie waardevolle hulpbron geword wat dikwels van kritieke belang is vir mededingende sukses. As sodanig, het 'n verskeidenheid metodes en benaderings die afgelope dekades opgeduik, wat saamgegroei het in wat bekend geword het as kennisbestuur (KB). Die doel van KB is gefokus op die gebruik van verskillende meganismes en tegnologieë om die ontdekking, vaslegging, deel en toepassing van kennis ten einde waarde te verkry, te bevorder. Alhoewel daar baie studies is oor hoe kennis openliker gebruik moet word, het minder gefokus op die beste manier om dit te beveilig. Dit hou 'n risiko in vir organisasies as gevolg van die toenemende kompleksiteit van die intelligensie-insamelingsmeganismes wat gebruik word deur diegene wat hierdie kennis vir hul eie voordeel wil verkry. In reaksie hierop het die idee van kennisbeveiliging na vore gekom as 'n meganisme om hierdie risiko teë te werk. Vanuit 'n akademiese perspektief is dit grotendeels gegrond in die teorie oor inligtingsekuriteit. Dit het plaasgevind as gevolg van die konvergensie wat tussen inligtingstelsels en KB plaasgevind het, met veiligheid wat grotendeels eksplisiet gefokus het. Alhoewel dit op sommige maniere voordelig is, is dit om 'n aantal redes ook ietwat problematies. Eerstens, kan kennis verder strek as die eksplisiete en word dikwels in ontasbare, stilswyende vorms aangetref, wat miskien nie gedek word deur 'n suiwer inligtingsekuriteits gedrewe benadering te volg nie. Tweedens, skep dit 'n tweespalt tussen KB-aktiwiteit, wat hoofsaaklik gerig is op die versterking en verspreiding van kennis, en huidige veiligheidspraktyke, wat daarop gemik is om toegang tot prosesse te beperk en te beheer. Dit is ook 'n simptoom wat aandui op die diepere vraag oor kennis in organisasies, in terme van hoe dit die beste op 'n gebalanseerde manier behou, beskerm en bestuur kan word. Die studie fokus dus op hoe om hierdie teenstrydigheid te oorkom deur die meta-vraag oor kennisbeveiliging aan die KB-teorie op te lê. Die doel van die navorsing is om die liggaam van kennis te bevorder deur daartoe by te dra in die vorm van 'n beter begrip van hoe kennisbeveiliging as 'n KB-probleem gekonseptualiseer kan word en as 'n model aangebied kan word. Daar word gehoop dat dit die grondslag sal lê vir toekomstige navorsing oor hierdie onderwerp en dat dit sal bydra tot die verstewiging van kennisbeveiliging as deel van die breër reeks KB-prosesse. Om hierdie navorsingsdoelstellings te bereik, is die navorsingsontwerp gestruktureer om op drie komponente te fokus. Die eerste is 'n teoretiese analise wat fokus op 'n ondersoek van die literatuur wat verband hou met organisasiekennis, KB en kennisbeveiliging. Die tweede is 'n empiriese analise wat fokus op die identifisering van die verband tussen sekuriteit en kennis in die praktyk. Die derde is die kombinasie van die insigte wat verkry is uit die eerste twee komponente en die gebruik van hierdie insette om 'n konseptuele model te ontwerp wat die verband tussen kennisbeveiliging en KB uiteensit. Hierdie proses het uitgeloop op die ontwikkeling van 'n konseptuele model van kennisbeveiliging wat die verhouding met KB beklemtoon.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/123761
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