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Original Research

Integrating knowledge seeking into knowledge management models and frameworks

Francois Lottering, Archie L. Dick

SA Journal of Information Management; Vol 14, No 1 (2012), 9 pages. doi: 10.4102/sajim.v14i1.515

Submitted: 30 January 2012
Published:  12 September 2012

Abstract

Background: A striking feature of the knowledge management (KM) literature is that the standard list of KM processes either subsumes or overlooks the process of knowledge seeking. Knowledge seeking is manifestly under-theorised, making the need to address this gap in KM theory and practice clear and urgent.

Objectives: This article investigates the theoretical status of the knowledge-seeking process in extant KM models and frameworks. It also statistically describes knowledge seeking and knowledge sharing practices in a sample of South African companies. Using this data, it proposes a KM model based on knowledge seeking.

Method: Knowledge seeking is traced in a number of KM models and frameworks with a specific focus on Han Lai and Margaret Graham’s adapted KM cycle model, which separates knowledge seeking from knowledge sharing. This empirical investigation used a questionnaire to examine knowledge seeking and knowledge sharing practices in a sample of South African companies.

Results: This article critiqued and elaborated on the adapted KM cycle model of Lai and Graham. It identified some of the key features of knowledge seeking practices in the workplace. It showed that knowledge seeking and sharing are human-centric actions and that seeking knowledge uses trust and loyalty as its basis. It also showed that one cannot separate knowledge seeking from knowledge sharing.

Conclusion: The knowledge seeking-based KM model elaborates on Lai and Graham’s model. It provides insight into how and where people seek and share knowledge in the workplace. The article concludes that it is necessary to cement the place of knowledge seeking in KM models as well as frameworks and suggests that organisations should apply its findings to improving their knowledge management strategies.

 


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Author affiliations

Francois Lottering, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Archie L. Dick, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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