The interface between knowledge management and human resources: a qualitative study.

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dc.contributor.author Smith, Helena
dc.date.accessioned 2007-11-21T09:25:46Z
dc.date.available 2007-11-21T09:25:46Z
dc.date.issued 2007-11-21T09:25:46Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/130
dc.description.abstract The aim of the study was to obtain new insight into the phenomenon of knowledge management (KM) in modern-day organisations and the role Human Resources (HR) plays in facilitating access to knowledge via knowledge holders (employees). The study aims to contribute to both theoretical and practical use of KM and HR in the South African context. A qualitative methodological approach, modern qualitative research, and more specifically the grounded theory approach of Strauss and Corbin was used to carry out the research. The study’s unit of analysis was individuals, viz knowledge managers in organisations or individuals knowledgeable about the topic within organisations in South Africa’s Gauteng Province. The particular qualitative selection procedure used was theoretical sampling with snowball or chain sampling employed as sampling method. Although multimethods of data collection were used, the principal method consisted of unstructured in-depth interviews supported by participant observation. Three preliminary interviews were conducted during the feasibility study and followed by seven focussed interviews. The unstructured data was systematically analysed utilising the grounded theory methodology aimed at the development of a substantive theory. Three themes, namely Organisation, Human Resources and Knowledge Management were found to be particularly prominent in influencing the role HR plays in relation to and in support of KM in organisations. Three categories developed from the data analyses were the importance of organisational knowledge, management of knowledge and linking people to share knowledge. This triad formed the cornerstones of the theory. After conclusion of the data analysis a literature review was conducted to establish what the current literature reveals on the topics of KM and HR. To further substantiate the theory, it was compared with prominent concepts from the relevant theoretical and empirical research. From this it became clear that the role of HR in the knowledge organisation had changed and the prime focal point of HR would be the facilitation of knowledge sharing by linking people with one another and creating opportunities during which they could request and discuss specific knowledge. These linking processes may entail structural and paradigm adjustments, and initiating and encouraging informal shared learning opportunities. This resulted in changes in the role of HR and human resource management (HRM) practices, philosophies, and principles. As key holders of knowledge assets, employees have to be approached and managed differently, and at the same time understand their roles and responsibilities in the knowledge organisation. Essentially, optimal knowledge creation and use need to take place in a trusting environment and culture that supports, motivates and acknowledges knowledge sharing amongst employees. This study stresses the importance of the relationship between and the dependence of KM on HR and human resources in knowledge organisations. This would however require changes in the HR field and recommendations in this regard were made. en
dc.description.sponsorship Dr. Willem Schurink en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject knowledge management en
dc.subject personnel management en
dc.title The interface between knowledge management and human resources: a qualitative study. en
dc.type Thesis en

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