It As An Enabler Of Supply Chain Management

Essay add: 29-10-2015, 11:21   /   Views: 239

One source of a lasting competitive advantage among businesses and organisations is knowledge, most especially in an economy where the only certainty is uncertainty (Nonaka, 1991; Sharratt and Usoro, 2003 and Martinez-Canas et al 2011). There has been a growing discussion on the importance of knowledge management within society (Nonaka, 1991 and Martensson, 2000) recently, researchers started to recognize the contribution of Knowledge Management within Supply Chain domain (Sambasivan et al, 2009). Alvis and Hartmann (2008) describes knowledge as an important source of competitive advantage whereas Dasgupta and Gupta (2007) and Sandhawalia and Dalcher (2011) argue that it is not the existing knowledge in a firm that serves as the source of competitive advantage, but rather the ability to apply that knowledge effectively to create new knowledge. Through Knowledge Management, an organisation's intangible assets can be better utilized to create value (Rowley, 1999; Martensson, 2000; Mohammad and Al Saiyd, 2002).


Knowledge is an unquantifiable resource that can be located in the mind of 'an expert' (Sharrat and Usoro, 2003) and knowledge not used in the right context is just mere information (Davenport et al, 1998; Davenport and Prusak, 1998). On the other hand, information develops into knowledge, if it is interpreted properly and given the right context (Nonaka et al, 2000). Botha (2003) describe knowledge management as a management operation that creates and manages the flow of knowledge within an organisation to ensure that knowledge is efficiently and effectively used for both the short term and long term of an organisation. In order for any organisation to succeed in managing knowledge, knowledge generation; codification and transfer has to be a major aspect for the organisation (Mohammad and Alsaiyd, 2012).

Knowledge generation consists of acquisition, fusion, adaptation, dedication and building knowledge networks (Choo, 2003). This research will focus on Knowledge Acquisition. Knowledge Acquisition is an aspect of knowledge management which may consist of buying another organisation, hiring individuals and leasing external knowledge (Joia and Lemos, 2010). One significant challenge in Knowledge Management is how to effectively and efficiently acquire the required information (Nemani, 2010). Knowledge acquisition is the process of extracting relevant knowledge from experts and organizing this knowledge into a readable form for everyone who has access to it to understand (Feliciano, 2007). Similarly, Alavi and Leidner, (2001) are of the opinion that knowledge acquisition in an organisation involves creating a new knowledge and replacing the existing one with organisational tacit and explicit knowledge. Tacit knowledge can be acquired via imitation, practices and observation, while explicit knowledge can be acquired from books, journal articles, conferences (Choo, 2003; Feliciano, 2007; Li et al, 2012).

Through collaboration and social process, knowledge is created, acquired, maintained and shared in an organisation (Alavi and Leidner, 2001). Joia and Lemos (2010), propose two procedures in knowledge acquisition, which are the conversion of tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge and the transfer of knowledge from the individual level to the group, organisational and inter-organisational levels. Jafari et al (2011) identify eight (8) techniques (Protocol-generation techniques, Teach-back, Protocol analysis techniques, Laddering, Matrix-based techniques, Sorting techniques, Limited information and contrand-processing task and diagram-based techniques) by which knowledge can be acquired in an organisation, which will be discussed in details in the course of this research. Knowledge is acquired through interactions from both tacit and explicit knowledge and not from either tacit or explicit alone (Alwis and Hartmann, 2008). This can be seen in what Nonaka et al, (2000, pp 12) termed 'the spiral of knowledge' in figure 1 below, which are 'tacit-to-tacit', 'tacit-to-explicit', 'explicit-to-explicit' and 'explicit-to-tacit'.

Figure 1

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