Knowledge Management Research & Pracitice - Knowledge Management Research Practice(2010 8 7688 2010 Operational Research Society All rights reserved

Knowledge Management Research & Pracitice - Knowledge...

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Understanding of knowledge management roles and responsibilities: a study in the Australian context Frada Burstein 1 Simran Sohal 2 Suzanne Zyngier 3 and Amrik S. Sohal 4 1 Centre for Organisational and Social Informatics, Monash University, Australia; 2 IBM, Australia; 3 La Trobe University, Australia; 4 Department of Management, Monash University, Australia Correspondence: F. Burstein, Knowledge Management Research Program, Monash University, Caulfield East, Victoria 3145, Australia. Tel: þ 61 3 990 32011; Fax: þ 61 3 9903 1077 Received: 14 December 2007 Revised: 9 March 2009 Accepted: 18 May 2009 Abstract Most of the studies in knowledge management (KM) argue for leadership as a vital success factor for any initiative. Top management leadership enables the effective promotion of knowledge sharing by creating an appropriate organisational culture, and making arrangements for corresponding policies and procedures across the organisation to facilitate management of knowledge resources and practices. There is little empirical research reported that has focussed on capturing the awareness and understanding of KM teams’ constitutions and their responsibilities. This study reports on the survey of top managers with respect to KM strategy development and implementation. It is based on a survey data collected from leading Australian companies, and builds on other empirical case studies, which looked at mechanisms of KM strategy development and implementation. The results provide a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities for successful KM strategy development and implementation, and can assist with designing KM teams in organisations. Knowledge Management Research & Practice (2010) 8, 76–88. doi:10.1057/kmrp.2009.18 Keywords: knowledge management practice; knowledge management strategy; core competences; leadership; survey Introduction Knowledge management (KM) is increasingly being identified as a significant tool to support any organisation in achieving competitive advantage (Zack, 2003; Peppard, 2007). Its uptake has increased signifi- cantly over the past decade. Specifically, within Australian organisations there is a good level of understanding of KM as a business-focused approach (Zyngier et al ., 2003). Now that this understanding has been acknowledged, the issue is still to ensure that this understanding evolves into a practical implementation to assist companies in becoming more efficient and effective in what they do with their knowledge as a result of KM initiatives. Emphasis on KM leadership as a key factor in the success of KM is evident within the literature (Burstein et al ., 2003; Zyngier & Burstein, 2004, Anantatmula, 2008). The significance of a good leadership has been highlighted as an enabler in the recent (Ward & Aurum, 2004), as well as earlier (Wiig, 1997), studies of KM. However, there are fewer studies investigating what other roles and responsibilities are required to set up and implement a KM initiative once the charismatic leader sets up KM as one of the organisational priorities. Studies undertaken in determining Knowledge Management Research & Practice (2010) 8,
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