Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Management Studies

Knowledge Management in Indian Research and Development Organizations: An Organizational Culture Perspective

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Management Studies

Knowledge Management in Indian Research and Development Organizations: An Organizational Culture Perspective

Article excerpt

The study of human knowledge is as old as human history itself (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995). Organizations are increasingly becoming aware of that fact that employee knowledge is one of the most valuable assets (Sharon, Sasson, Parker, Horvath, & Mosbrooker, 2000). Organizational leaders also frequently recognize that knowledge is the chief organizational asset and the key to a sustainable competitive advantage (Davenport & Prusak, 2000). Knowledge sharing is critical, because it can contribute to the application of knowledge, innovation, and eventually to organizational profit (Jackson, Chuang, Harden, Jiang, & Joseph, 2006). Although knowledge primarily originates in the minds of individuals and gradually becomes implanted in documents or repositories, but it is also reflected in organizational routines, customs, practices, and norms (Alavi & Joachimsthaler, 1992). Therefore it is of immense importance to understand and examine that, how this knowledge that is created in human mind should be managed effectively so that it enhances organizational growth. Hence, the role of knowledge management becomes very significant in the present business scenario which is characterized by constant turmoil.

Knowledge Management gained academic legitimacy on the back of Nonaka's work (1994). Peter Drucker (1988) very rightly quoted that, "the typical business of future will be knowledge-based". The present focus on knowledge, primarily for knowledge management is frequently overtly oriented towards technological solutions. Several practitioners and scholars have also cautioned against excessive focus on technology (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995). However, there are emerging realizations that to achieve the level of efficient performance required for competitive excellence, the whole Individual must be considered. Past studies have confirmed that some of the greatest difficulties in knowledge management involve changing employee's behavior and encouraging a knowledgefriendly culture (Ruggles, 1998). According to Malhotra (1997) also knowledge management is not only limited to the management of knowledge assets, but it also deals with the management of the interpersonal and organizational practices that act upon these assets.

Organizational culture drives an organization's formal as well as informal expectations of organizational members. It also describes the types of individuals who are likely to fit into the organization, and affects how employees communicate and connect with others both inside as well as outside the organizational settings. Creating an effective organizational culture inside which organizational members function in an organization is an essential prerequisite for effectual knowledge management (Gupta & Govindarajan, 2000). Past studies have displayed that organizational culture comprises of several factors that create major barriers to successful knowledge management (De Long & Fahey, 2000). De Long and Fahey (2000) reported a case regarding the influence of organizational cultures on employee behaviors essential for knowledge creation, sharing, and utilization. They found that the majority of the organizations required a culture that fostered joint ventures or collaboration since, organizational members viewed private possession of knowledge as a method to ensure their job security (De Long & Fahey, 2000). Thereby, they were unwilling to share their knowledge which is an essential component for initiation and successful implementation of knowledge management processes in any organization.

Organizational culture is considered as one of the enablers of knowledge management but lack of focus on the cultural issues, has led to the failure of many knowledge management initiatives. According to Martin (2000), the way to efficient knowledge management is to build a kind of an organizational culture that recognizes which knowledge is significant and then to create such practices that put this knowledge in action. …

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