The evaluation of the knowledge management process in the ferro–metallurgical industry in South Africa
The aim of this study was to conduct a thorough theoretical study on the relevant aspects involved in knowledge management and organizational learning, and thence assess the level of organisational learning within the ferrometallurgical industry. From the outcomes of the assessment, recommendations to improve the state of affairs were to be made. Knowledge can be defined as actionable information. The creation, acquisition, sharing and leveraging of knowledge in today's industries are critical. Knowledge is now termed the fourth productive resource, and some authors claim, with some justification, that the widespread knowledge within a company is the only source of sustainable competitive advantage. With this in mind, it is obvious that companies need to nurture knowledge creation and effective utilisation thereof in order to meet organisational goals. Knowledge can be codified if it is explicit, but needs to be transferred using personalisation if it is tacit. Implicitness of tacit knowledge further confounds the issue. Knowledge management practices underpin the process of organisational learning. The level of organisational learning within the ferrometallurgical industry in South Africa was assessed, using a survey questionnaire obtained from the Harvard Business School. The results show that the industry lags behind the medians in the ten constructs measured, and much work will be required to significantly improve the situation. Key areas of concern are in the areas of psychological safety, time for reflection, education and training, and collection of information. As a consequence, a practical strategy for improving the state of knowledge management and organisational learning in the ferrometallurgical industry was developed.
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