The chapter aims to outline a literature review to support the purpose of the study with the help of secondary data available on this study theme. It has discussed the impact of organizational structure on the implementation of knowledge management frameworks and processes along with the challenges faced by organizations with this approach, to narrow down the study, the public sector has been selected to formulate understanding and develop a perceptual pathway for further working on the study.
Knowledge Management Infrastructure
Various researchers have worked to identify the factors that could have a potential impact on the firm’s performance. To determine the effect of knowledge management enablers, like organizational structure, human resource, culture and innovative technology, on the organizational productivity, Lee and Choi (2003) have conducted their research. Likewise, various factors like organizational strategy, values, configuration, advancement of technology and style of leadership have been identified by Gimenez and Rincon (2003), Khalifa and Liu (2003) and Zheng (2005) as the major sources to enhance the organizational performance.
According to Gold et al. (2001), as firms vary in their commitment to introduce and maintain the system of knowledge management, they face different results in terms of their goals accomplishment in this regard. Thus the firms should recognize and equipped themselves with all the prerequisites, required to fulfill the desired objectives. Literary work of strategic management and organizational behavior define theses pre-requisites as competencies (Mills & Smith, 2011) which could be treated as of infrastructural nature in terms of KM. In order to build on existing knowledge, principle infrastructural competencies include structural, technological and cultural competencies (Gold et al., 2001).
Knowledge Management and Cultural Capability
According to Schein (2006), organizational culture demonstrated shared norms, values, and assumptions. As suggested by Barney (1991), for a sustained competitive benefit culture is the primary source. Empirical research also supports this argument by forming it as an essential knowledge management factor for success and hence make contributions towards the effectiveness of an organization. Consistency, mission, adaptability, and mission are being validated and identified as the main dimensions of the organizational culture that aids in the effectiveness of organization (Lam & Lambermont-Ford, 2010; Fey and Denison, 2003). The extent to which the behavior, system, and structure of the organization in the dynamic environment is altered is referred to as adaptability.
The overall culture of the organization must motivate and facilitates any activities that are some way or another related to the knowledge management. To achieve this, employee collaborations should be given due consideration so that effective relationship management could be created which will ultimately facilitate the useful existence of diverse perspectives (Barney, 1991). This kind of collaboration is highly recommended for the management of implicit knowledge. A defined corporate vision, which revolves around firm’s values and objectives (which provides value to the knowledge) and which focuses on the contribution of the knowledge in the accomplishment of those objectives, is an essential element of a strengthened knowledge culture (Barney, 1991). Another important feature is the support of executive leaders to all the knowledge related activities took place within the organization. Their support could be in the form of having a check on the knowledge to avoid and remove any possible mistakes.
Knowledge Management and Structural Capability
Along with the organizational culture, there is an equal impact of organizational structure on the knowledge management actions in any organization. Command structure and formal operation mostly represent the organizational structure (O’Dell and Essaides, 1998). It also inaugurated the presence of norm and trust (Gold et al., 2001). In Knowledge management, an important role is played by the structure differently; it aids the infrastructure of technology to thrive and also make it capable for decision making, a reporting relationship is instituted by it which is productive for knowledge sharing. From the research findings, it is shown that the NTPC is bureaucratized and formalized. Here the meaning of formalization is to standardize the employee behavior and jobs being guided by procedures and rules (Andrews and Kacmar, 2001; Robbins et al., 2005). At the plant level, the operational procedures are ordered highly; however, this will not result in restricting the sharing of knowledge and generating new knowledge.
Technological capability and its role in the knowledge management procedure
The Information Technology Infrastructure of an organization also facilitates the knowledge management. Though most of the systems and information technologies are designed to go for knowledge management, overall Information Technology Infrastructure of the organization, designed to aid the information system requirements of the organization, also smoothens the process of knowledge management (Hitt, Ireland & Lee, 2000). The Information Technology Infrastructure is the mixture of storage, data processing, and communication technologies and other systems (servers, databases, information devices, computers, etc.) and the procedures that make all of its activities possible (Tanriverdi, 2005).
The complete spectrum of the information systems of the organization is included in it, comprising of management information systems and transaction processing systems. It also consists of data warehouses and databases, along with resource planning systems of the enterprise.
The organization’s technological ability can be understood through its basic IT structure, which comprises software, external and internal systems, hardware, databases and networks (Yang and Chen, 2007). Most of the authors found that technology is a vital factor that enables the knowledge management systems. It aids in fast storage and knowledge retrieval which enhances the innovation process. Hence, technological infrastructure plays a very vital role that can’t be denied by any organization, and it will assist in maintaining the knowledge management with the help of cultural capability, structural capability (Tanriverdi, 2005).
Knowledge management, Organizational Learning, and Organizational culture
According to Robins (1999), almost all the aspects of the organization are influenced by the culture of the organization. The impact of culture could be readily observed in the employee behavior, organizational productivity, enthusiasm, innovativeness, diversity and job satisfaction. Today’s business world is characterized by the rapid changing taking place in the work environment, and it is a matter of high concern for various organizations. It makes the competition among the firms more intense.
Research shows that by utilizing existing knowledge and leading it to the effective management, firms can resolve this issue. Glosser researched that organizations can achieve high-performance quality with less time if they enable themselves to innovate and share the knowledge. Delivery of good quality performance with efficiency could help in increasing the customer’s confidence in the organization. But the way in which the administration of organizational knowledge will take place is worth considering, and effective knowledge management could facilitate the organization in this regard. Delong & Fahey provides the following ways in which knowledge management could be influenced by the organizational culture
- Organizational culture plays its role in identifying knowledge and create its significance for the organization’s leadership
- It plays a role in building a bond between workers and organizational knowledge
- The way knowledge should be utilized in a particular situation is identified by the cultural patterns
- It facilitates the process creation and legitimizes and distribute the knowledge within the organization (Shafee, Qaderzade, Lavee, 2010)
For Delong & Fahey (2000), the main focus of knowledge management are employees and organizational culture which contributes 80% part in it while technology plays only 20% role. Thus the existing culture of the firm plays an essential role in effective knowledge management. Goh (2002) opines that in the case of collaborative organizational culture, it is essential that people interact with each other so that they can transfer and share the knowledge and ideas. In this part, two major issues of knowledge management will be analyzed: first is the degree at which the culture of the organization can motivate the behavior of the workers to involve in knowledge creation and advancement, second the role, played by the organizational management in the creation of a strong knowledge culture.
McDermott & O’Dell (2001) stated that in many cases major knowledge management innovations are failed due to the cultural problems. According to Choi and Lee (2003), a well-structured knowledge management system is required by the organization to achieve its required level of financial growth, but in order to be effective, the importance of the alignment of that system with the organizational culture could not be ignored. Balthazar & Cook (2004) opines that it is essential for the people, who made knowledge management strategies, to equip themselves with the knowledge of organizational culture because of culture influence the knowledge management process.
Technology Infrastructure, Knowledge management, and Organizational Learning
The relationship between the information technology and organizational learning has been explored in the near times and after that two interlinked research area is established in this context. For one group of researchers, organizational learning is a method, used in the business organizations, to identify and solve various issues related to the execution and utilization of information technology (Bollinger and Smith, 2001). These researchers based their work on the significant nature of the organizational learning process which revolves around the solution of implementation issues. As technologies are changing in a rapid manner, businesses face many difficulties to update themselves by adopting innovative technologies (Bollinger and Smith, 2001). Various researches have been conducted to identify the methods through which businesses can use the information technology in an effective and efficient manner thus it could be expected that the solution of all IT related issues will be designed in the near future.
The second group of researchers is concerned with those applications of information technology that facilitates the organization’s processes of organizational learning and knowledge management.
An example of this could be the technologies like expert systems, best-practice databases, data warehousing, internet, and intranet. All these systems can incorporate important resources for the firms’ memory. Furthermore, in order to use and get access to the memory, technologies like groupware and wideband communication networks could be utilized (Hanvanich et al., 2006). Through this, an important feature of the nature of information technology is revealed that IT is a cornerstone in the designing and establishment of learning organizations as it provides the main infrastructure to access, save and edit various elements of the firm’s memory (Meso and Smith, 2000).
Although both groups of researchers worked independently of each other there is a conceptual link between the two streams of research; they worked on. Certainly, researchers have accepted that before utilizing IT to facilitate the firm’s organizational learning process, it is vital that organizations first adopt and implement suitable innovative technologies (Hanvanich et al., 2006).
Considering the secondary data used throughout the literature review, it is found that journal articles have been used to support the study, however, for a detailed study like these, it is important for the research to use statistics of both public and private sector to formulate understanding. In addition, the studies have worked with secondary data that limit down its focus from primary data. Meanwhile, there is lack of data related to public sector and the use of knowledge management (especially in developing countries) to support learning and development and plan strategic moves to improve their productivity and performance among other regions.
To conclude, it can be said that knowledge management helps a firm to consider managing their operations focused on the trends of the industry as it helps the company to achieve their targets. The underpinned literature review focused on working with the management of organizations especially firms in the public sector to achieve their targets and plan their strategic plans with knowledge management frameworks to achieve their determined targets. It helps the companies to build confidence in their strategic planning to reduce the risk of managing the operations of the firm and engage their employees with the procedures to outline long-term strategies aligned with knowledge management. It has also included brief limitations to the literature review that might limit the knowledge being used in the research study, for future reference, it will be beneficial for the study to adopt a diverse focus and work with statistical data to support data collection for the study based on real facts and figures.
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