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Original Research

Knowledge management awareness in a research and development facility: Investigating employee perceptions

Andrea Potgieter, Thami Dube, Chris Rensleigh

SA Journal of Information Management; Vol 15, No 2 (2013), 6 pages. doi: 10.4102/sajim.v15i2.592

Submitted: 30 July 2013
Published:  04 December 2013

Abstract

Background: Research and development (R&D) facilities are dependent on knowledge to develop new and improve existing technologies. R&D employees’ perceptions of the use and management of knowledge are important as these individuals are the source of the innovation needed to generate and develop new processes and services.

Objectives: This study aimed to understand Sasol R&D employees’ perceptions of knowledge management (KM). The study also assessed the attitude of Sasol R&D management towards KM.

Method: The target population for this research included different levels of seniority and education in Sasol R&D. A questionnaire was distributed to a sample of 150 employees in R&D and 50 more who work closely with R&D in support functions.

Results: It was found that the importance of KM is understood by Sasol R&D employees and management. It was established that Sasol R&D management regard KM as important, but that their commitment to KM initiatives is not necessarily evident for employees. A concern highlighted by the study was that employees were not aware of the duties of the identified KM champions within their facility.

Conclusion: It was suggested that Sasol R&D employees should be made aware of the duties of KM champions. It was also established that Sasol R&D management needs to be more visible in their support of KM initiatives. Recommendations based on the findings of the study can assist Sasol R&D, and other facilities attempting to implement a KM strategy, to gain insight into the perceptions of employees and the role management needs to play in the facilitation of this process.


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Author affiliations

Andrea Potgieter, Department of Information and Knowledge Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Thami Dube, Centre for Information and Knowledge Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Chris Rensleigh, Department of Information and Knowledge Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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