Enabler Of Supply Chain Management

Essay add: 28-06-2016, 12:49   /   Views: 17

One source of a lasting competitive advantage among businesses and organisations is knowledge. Alvis and Hartmann 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).

There has been a growing discussion on the importance of knowledge management within society (Nonaka, 1991 and Martensson, 2000) and relatively recently, researchers have begun to recognize the contribution of Knowledge Management (KM) within the Supply Chain domain (Sambasivan et al, 2009).


Knowledge is an unquantifiable resource that can be located in the mind of 'an expert' (Sharrat and Usoro, 2003) and knowledge used out of context is merely information (Davenport et al, 1998; Davenport and Prusak, 1998). On the other hand, information develops into knowledge if it is given the right context (Nonaka et al, 2000). Alternatively, Knowledge Acquisition (KA) may also consist of buying another organisation, hiring individuals and leasing external knowledge (Joia and Lemos, 2010).

Botha (2003) describes 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. One significant challenge in KM is how to effectively and efficiently acquire the required information (Nemani, 2010). Mohammad and Alsaiyd (2012) echo this and note that in order for any organisation to succeed in managing knowledge, knowledge generation, codification and transfer has to be considered.

The acquisition of knowledge has been conceptualised and described in different ways. Choo (2003) identifies it as a series of acquisition, fusion, adaptation, dedication and building knowledge networks. Jafari et al (2011) identify eight techniques by which knowledge can be acquired in an organisation. Feliciano (2007) identifies the important social dimension of knowledge acquisition, noted earlier by Alavi and Leidner (2001), and describes it as 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. Successful KA relies upon an organisation having a supportive culture, characterized by trust and knowledge sharing mindset (Shaw et al, 2003).

One of the key aspects of KA is its conceptualisation in tacit and explicit forms. This can be seen in what Nonaka et al, (2000, pp 12) termed 'the spiral of knowledge' in figure 1.

Figure 1

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