Date of Award

2004

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Business Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Business and Public Management

First Advisor

Llandis Barratt-Pugh

Abstract

Organisations entering the 21st Century arc exposed to an environment of continuous change, a challenge that requires a movement away from more predictable structures of the past, with hierarchies and formal chains of command. The emerging fluid and network like structures present new challenges for ensuring the development and dissemination of organisational knowledge. An area of considerable current debate involves the issue of harmony and balance between and organisation's culture and its Knowledge Management (KM) systems. The focus of this study is on organisations that are recognising the implications of these changes and are responding by installing knowledge systems in an attempt to capture and distribute the organisation's explicit knowledge. Such actions indicate the recognition of a need to move towards a managerial culture which is inclusive of knowledge development, and where managerial actions demonstrate a concern with capturing the tacit knowledge of all employees, creating open external interfaces. The success of the implementation of a knowledge management system depends upon full utilisation of the system by all potential users and the development of a culture which facilitates this inclusivity. Research and experience have indicated that KM systems are often not successfully adopted by the potential users. This study seeks to understand why users may choose not to participate in the use of knowledge management systems, which is the first critical step in ensuring that a knowledge management system may be fully utilised and provide maximum value to an organisation, creating a culture that provides a competitive edge. This study attempts to explore and model the relationships between factors that act as barriers for individuals when knowledge management systems are implemented, and to identify aspects of an organisation or a KMS which may facilitate improved uptake of a KMS.. The study focuses on a range of employees across three organisations which have given the research project considerable latitude in research opportunity and provided detailed in-depth interviews. This study is based on the findings of a pilot study, conducted by this researcher, that categorised the barriers into three broad areas: structure, culture and individual perceptions. That categorisation is used as a conceptual framework for this study. The qualitative data from the in-depth interviews and observation is analysed, categorised, and patterns of issues identified using a grounded theory approach. Industry experts have reviewed the results to identify and confirm possible issues in the data and give practitioner validity to the analysis. For practitioners the results provide a framework of the relationships that may act as barriers to employee participation, and an indication of those issues that appear the most critical when constructing an appropriate organisational culture for knowledge management systems. Academically the study identifies critical issues that should be the subject of more detailed cultural exploration in this developing field.

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