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Nov 6, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)

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Integrating Academic Institutional Management Information Systems to a centralized
Knowledge Management Systems in Tanzanian Universities

By

Masele, J.J (2008)



Abstract

Higher learning Education industry in Tanzania is increasingly becoming competitive
following its liberalization in
the year 1995. To confront the situation Universities and other higher learning education institutions are forced to
forge new ways to reinvent themselves. Knowledge which is the source of competence is believed to give dire
ction to
employees and hence organizations on how to think, act and react to their environment. In this respect knowledge is
one of the key strategic resources companies have today. Proper knowledge management facilitates education
training, technical, ref
reshment and on
-
the
-
job experience. Capturing knowledge prevents the loss of critical
knowledge due to retirement, downsizing and out sourcing.


This study was conducted in UDSM, SUA, TUICo, and TUDARCo to assess the way, separate information available
wit
hin individuals and databases are converted to knowledge useful to these organizations for their Competitive
advantage. It was revealed that, the information within various offices, sections and departments are not
interconnected such that each unit operat
es as a distinct entity with its own set of information system. Communication
between them is therefore slow, and information they hold is hardly shared. Knowledge is bound in the separate
databases and physical files in each functional area of administrat
ion, admission, accounting, examinations, library,
research and development, human resources, supplies and procurements. Nonetheless, some moves towards creating
Integrated Management Information system in UDSM unlike in TUDARCo are promising. The establis
hment of ARIS,
University Intranets and integrated timetabling etc are the indications.


The study proposes a Knowledge Management Framework for the Higher learning institutions for effective University
knowledge management. The study further adopts the Da
venport and Marchand (2000) four types of knowledge
management objectives including: creation and maintenance of knowledge repositories, improving knowledge access,
enhancing knowledge environment, and valuing knowledge. However, this will only be possible

if there are dedicated
commitments from the top level managements of Tanzanian Universities.

























2

1.0
Background information


Due to realization that human capital, more so one wh
o
is educated and healthy is central to
socio
-
economic dev
elopment; the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania through its
Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, liberalized the education sector (Msolla,
200
7
) by amending the former act leading to enactment of the Education Act No. 10 of 199
5. The
Ministry’s vision today is to have a Tanzanian Society that will be competitive, knowledgeable,
scientific and technologically anchored among the community of Nations by 2025.


T
he demand for higher learning in Tanzania is geometrically increasing y
ear after year (Msolla,
200
7
). There are about four factors leading to this increase, including: 1. increased awareness of
Tanzanian community on the role of education as a

human capital and central to socio
-
economic
development
2. the increased population

and number of students completing advanced
secondary education, hence requiring more accommodation chances. 3. the government
enactment of a law to establish the Higher Education Students Loan Board (HESLB) (URT Act
No.9, 2004) to manage a students’ loan
scheme, primarily to facilitate access to higher education
by students whose parents cannot afford to pay for them. Under the scheme all university
students, including those from the private universities are eligible for loan if the applicant has the
minim
um academic performance required. 4. the implementation of the Primary Education
Development Programme (PEDP, 2002
-
2007) and the Secondary education Development
Programme (SEDP, 2004
-
2009) both of which have been successful in increasing students
enrolment
s and outputs, has managed to provide a pool of students to join the Universities and
other higher learning institutions in the country.
It is therefore assumed that these opportunities
will result to increased demand for higher learning institutions to ex
pand their
business.


There
are a number

of
challenges
Tanzanian Universities are facing, as players in the market.
Following
the enactment of the Act of 1995, which led to liberalization of the education sector,

has
made higher learning education sector

grow from only one
U
niversity

College

in 1961 to more
than 200 tertiary training institutions by December 2006 (Msolla, 2006).

This situation has created
intense competition among the players.

Tanzanian Universities
are
urged

to play strategically in
the
market of these hundreds of competitors if they are to remain at a competitive
edge.
It

is
essential for Universities to invest
and

adopt new and powerful strategic tool
s

to promote the
business in a way that wi
ll preserve the competitive advantages

that t
he
institutions
ha
ve been
enjoying.


Scholars
(Nonaka, 1996; Mbago, 2000 and Rowley, 2000)

declare that
effective Knowledge
Management as a source of competitive advantages,
unlike other resources (like capital, labor
and land etc) which they consider the
m as replicable, and imitative.
They (ibid)

further indicate
that, for firms to be considered innovators and leaders in business, one of the most important
success factors is information. This information becomes knowledge that may amplify
organizational e
ffectiveness. However, Mukangara (2000) cited in Masele (2005) argues that
having too much information vastly disorganized is like not having any. Consequences are:
slowed business processes, inhibiting critical business decisions, and making changes more
difficult than it ought to be. Proper knowledge management facilitates education, training,
technical refreshment and on
-
the
-
job experien
ce. Capturing knowledge prevents
loss of critical
knowledge due to retirement, downsizing and outsourcing.

While speedi
ly growing,
Tanzanian

Higher learning
Institutions
have

a number of
dis
integrated

Information Systems
for her different functional activities. The various offices, sections and
departments are not interconnected such that each unit operates as a distinct e
ntity with its own
set of information system. Communication between them is therefore very slow and information

3

they hold is hardly shared. Knowledge
is bound in
separate databases and physical files in
the
various
functional area
s

including

administration
, admission, accounts, examinations, library,
research and development, human resources
, supplies

and procurements
. A central challenge is
for these Universities to manage Information in terms of identifying, capturing, generation,
processing, storage, ret
rieval and dissemination/use within and out of her different departments
where customers and stakeholders are. Consequently, it is really hard for stakeholders to share
organizational already collected knowledge for
Universities’
competitiveness.


1.1 Majo
r

issues and problems


There are two major problems/ symptoms of the problems in the near future. The most important
problems this paper identifies include:



Lack of a corporate Management Information System



Non
-
existence of appropriate Knowledge Management

system

The most probable dangers in the near future are:



Most of transaction information in databases, and knowledge will remain embedded in
processes and documentation as well as explicit and implicit knowledge in the heads of
the workers.



As the pace of

change increases and people change jobs more frequently, information and
knowledge that used to be concentrated in one person or process is likely to be
epidemically lost



Captured organizational goal
-
related knowledge as well as knowledge of its products,

customers, competition, and processes is at the danger to be lost.



As a result Universities are likely, to be at a Competitive disadvantage

A technological and infrastructure base must be established that may consist
of
both academic and
administration co
mpon
ents. An integrated
Management
Information System

should rapidly evolve into
an information utility that can provide a knowledge management system for provision of strategic
knowledge for Academic institutions’

competitive advantage.


1.2
Objective

The

objective of this
paper is
to
assess the way, separate information available within individuals and
databases are converted to knowledge useful
Universities’

Competitive advantage.





1.3
Research question


How
separate information

systems

within

Academ
ic institution

can

form
a centralized strategic
Knowledge Management System for sustainable operational efficiency and effectiveness?


1.4
Significance of the study

The study
is hoped to

be an informing mechanism on
higher learning authorities
, policy make
rs

and other practitioners
with regard to prerequisite for
Knowledge management strategies for
competitive advantages in Universities.

The
paper
will
motivate the daring

that
can make routine
s
haring of the knowledge, advice and good practices within and o
utside the college. Moreover
,
the paper

may
add

a contribution towards
conceptual framework formulation

on
how firms can

4

deploy
ICT
for K
nowledge Management
that can be source of
companies’

competitiveness
.
The
study
will

stimulate

policy discussion

among
practitioners

bringing a further need for further

research in the issues of Knowledge Management and the way it can offer competitive
advantages.
Finally, the findings generated from the empirical study have the potential to add to
an existing body of know
ledge on
Integration of M
anagement
I
nformation
S
ystem

to K
nowledge
M
anagement
S
ystem
.


1.5
Limitation of the study


This particular study makes a lot of assumptions as it only relies on secondary data and writer’s
own experiences
, observation and interview
s to some practitioners including the IT staff in the
University, users of the library, hospital, accounting system and admission and examination
officers
.
The facts and figures, Universities strategic plan and employment schemes of services
were of great
use.
The
est
ablishment of the corporate KMS

therefore needs

a detailed study on
primary data sources and project
and its implementation need to be done in phases
. Most
importantly, the proper functioning of the system and its benefit to the operation
in

th
e college
s

has to be felt and understood before rolling out on a large scale.


The study
focus
ed

on answering questions like why is KMS needed

by the universities
, what is
needed
for its development, and how
it
is
going to be implemented.
T
h
is analysis al
so

focus
es

only in
Tumaini University

(
IUCo and TUDARCo)
, SUA

and UDSM
, though there are
many other
institutions in Tanzania
. However, its relevance and value to the
institutions

shall be marketed
continuously through out the
other Universities in Tanzania
.


1.6
Methodology


The method utilized to identify the knowledge management opportunities for Universities, was
content
use
from the

available literature

(books, journals, university reports and strategic plans).
T
he research
also
involve
d

use
of
personal

observations
, experience and use of
interviews

by

the
writer

to IT managers

and users (employees)
.
These and other sources
was

used to come up with
relevant analysis, recommendations and conclusions, something which may be the basis of
Universities Long t
erm Strategic
research and
Plans

in the areas how they ay integrate
Management Information Systems to Centralized Knowledge management Information systems
.



2.0
Literature review


2.1
University roles
and

need for
Knowledge management in
competitive situa
tion


Higher learning institutions are mandated to perform major functions of a university
including:

to
transmit advanced knowledge from one generation to the next so that is can serve either as a basis of
action, or a springboard to further research;
t
o

provide a centre for the attempt to advance the frontiers

of knowledge through research; t
o serve the society

through community service, and; t
o provide
through its teaching for the high level manpower needs of the society

(Msolla, 2007)
.
Universities are

characterized by its ability to advance knowledge and search for new frontiers of knowledge.
They are

the collector, distiller, repository and dispenser of knowledge
and therefore are
important partner
s

to
the government in applying this knowledge to the
objective analysis of the national challenges in terms
of policies, governance, socio
-
economic development, sustainable growth, prioritization and
sequencing of development actions; and providing objective prescription and predictions.


5


However, h
igh
er learning
industry
in
is in the midst of major change as accountability, technology,
faculty aging, distance education, globalization, emerging knowledge economy and many other
pressures come to bear. Together, they create a revolution that is forcing or
ganizations to seek
new ways to reinvent themselves.

Universities and other higher learning education institutions are
recognized to be in the knowledge business, and increasingly they are exposed to marketplace
pressures in a similar way to other business
es

(
Rowley, 2000
)
.

Implementation of knowledge
management frameworks in institutions of higher learning is therefore a necessary in globalised,
accelerated technological change, and increased competitiveness.


There are a number of 'drivers', or motivatio
ns, leading to organizations (including Universities)
undertaking a knowledge management program. Perhaps first among these is to gain the
competitive advantage that comes with improved or faster learning and new knowledge creation.
Knowledge management pr
ograms may lead to greater innovation, better customer experiences,
consistency in good practices and knowledge access across a global organization.
According to
Nonaka (1996), Knowledge management (KM), directs and enhances organizational decisions as
to
how, where, and when to create and account for new knowledge. It increases the need to
transfer information horizontally across departmental boundaries and forward and

backward in
the production chain to suppliers and
customers
(
Khalil, 1998
).

Moreover, th
e effectiveness of
customer
-
supplier partnerships is dependent, to a great extent, on the exchange of information
and knowledge.


Importantly in higher learning institutions, KM facilitates education, training, technical refreshment
and on
-
the
-
job experie
nce. Capturing knowledge prevents loss of critical knowledge due to
retirement, downsizing and outsourcing. The issue then, is
the extent to which existing information
systems
are integrated to form

knowledge management strategies
that
may optimize the abi
lity of
institutions to respond to new environments

they operate
.


2.2
Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom

Before looking into the t
wo major concepts of this study


Management Information

S
ystems and
Knowledge Management S
ystems
”, the following

specif
ic terms relat
ing

to them

should be looked
into. They include

data, information, knowledge and wisdom.

The following three definitions are quoted from Godbout (1999).

Data

constitutes one of the primary forms of information. It essentially consists of reco
rdings of
transactions or events, which will be used for exchange between humans or even with machines.
As such, data does not carry meaning unless one understands the context in which the data was
gathered. A word, a number or a symbol can be used do desc
ribe a business result, inserted in a
marriage contract or a graffiti
ng

on the wall. It is the context, which gives it meaning, and this
meaning makes it informative.

Information extends the concept of data in a broader context. As such it includes data b
ut it also
includes all the information a person comes in contact with as a member of a social organization
in a given physical environment. Information like data is carried through symbols. These symbols
have complex structures and rules. Information ther
efore comes in a variety of forms such as
writings, statements, statistics, diagrams or charts. ). However, Heeks (2000a) asserts that, it is
important to be aware of that one person’s information can be another person’s data, for
which

it

6

has no meaning.
An example could be the technical drawing of a machine part to be
manufactured on a lathe machine. Its content is information for the lathe machine operator while it
is likely to be data for the general manager of the company.


Information becomes individu
al knowledge when it is accepted and retained by an individual as
being a proper understanding of what is true (Lehrer, 1990) and a valid interpretation of the
reality. Knowledge when gets assimilated into a coherent framework of reflection and learning
ex
pands and perhaps restructures existing knowledge in the mind (Heeks 2000a:2). Conversely,
organizational or social knowledge exists when it is accepted by a consensus of a group of
people. Common knowledge does not require necessarily to be shared by all
members to exist;
the fact that it is accepted amongst a group of informed persons can be considered a sufficient
condition. This

is also true of public domain

knowledge. The fact that it is readily available in
writing or published material does not entai
l that everybody should be knowledgeable about it to
meet the condition of being.


When new knowledge is tested and enhanced by experience through interaction with the
environment, wisdom arises, which can be described quite appropriately as the oneness o
f body
and mind. (Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995:29). Wisdom is defined as the application of intelligence
and experience toward the attainment of a common good. This attainment involves a balance
among (a) intrapersonal (one's own), (b) interpersonal (other peo
ple's), and (c) extra personal
(more than personal, such as institutional) interests, over the short and long terms. Thus, wise
people look out not just for themselves, but for all toward whom they have any responsibility.






Data

Suitable Terms:

Capta

Information

Facts

Selected or created facts

Meaningful facts,

endowed with

relevance and purpose

Larger, longer
-
living
structures of
meaningful facts and
frameworks

Knowledge
tested and
enhanced with
experience

Emergence in the human
mind, only tacit,

impossible to transfer

Created and residing in
the human mind, mostly
tacit, hard to structure,
hard to transfer

Context
interests

Cognitive
(appreciati
ve)

Wisdom

Knowledge

Figure 1: Data to Wisdom Pyramid (Schueber 2001b)

Increased human involvement,

Shift of focus from content to context


7



From fig. 1, along the transition from data via capta and information to knowledge and wisdom
value is added through the human involvement. The increased human involvement makes
information, knowledge and wisdom not only more context and person specific

but also harder to
manage and to transfer. This becomes even more evident in the multicultural environment where
an organization is operating.


2.3
What is knowledge Management

(KM)
?

Knowledge management may be defined as the set of process that create a
nd share knowledge
across an organization to optimise the use of judgement in the attachment of mission and goals. It
comprises a range of practices used by
organization
s to identify, create, represent, and distribute
knowledge for reuse, awareness and lea
rning. KM may be implemented through developing KM
application that retain employees’ know how, expertise and enable decision makers to react
quickly to customers and competitors. It

involves capturing an organization’s goal
-
related
knowledge as well as kn
owledge of its products, customers, competition, and processes, and then
sharing that knowledge with the appropriate people throughout the organization.

Further it seeks
to support communities of practice in creating and using knowledge. Finally, it accept
s the notion
that knowledge transmission is primarily a human activity.


Knowledge management is the art of creating value from an organization’s knowledge assets with
a view to furthering the
organization
’s

objectives. The knowledge to be managed include
s both
explicit, documented knowledge, and tacit, subjective knowledge. Management entails all those
processes associated with the identification, sharing and creation and maintenance of knowledge
repositories, and to cultivate and facilitate sharing of kn
owledge and organizational learning.


Knowledge is created in the human brain, and only the right organizational climate can persuade
people to share it. Knowledge management is most effective in learning communities with shared
vision and practice, line
-
of
-
sight relations, and empathy and trust. Knowledge is treated as a
product in its own right.



2.4 Information Systems, Knowledge Management and Success


Information systems have become indispensable to individuals and businesses around the world.
They a
re evolving into tools for managing knowledge and implementing change. This means,
having information is necessary but not sufficient to lead a company to greatness. Instead, the
ability to integrate information in a timely manner with the experience, skil
l, intuition, and
knowledge of key personnel gives companies the edge necessary to succeed. Gupta (2000) and,
Mbago, (2000) document that proper effective Management Information Systems has a lots to do
with knowledge management success. The following are

the points put forward:




Information must be managed so employees can apply it as knowledge. Many
organizations
recognize

that collecting information does little good unless that information
is managed and applied well.



Much information is lost because it

isn’t captured. The knowledge of an expert frequently
isn’t written down, so when that expert leaves the business, the information becomes
unavailable. Knowledge management prevents this loss from happening.



Sharing knowledge creates a more powerful compa
ny. By creating
a
pool

of knowledge
and sharing it with others in the
organization
, employees can develop knowledge faster

8

and more effectively. As a company shares knowledge more, its ability to adapt to change
improves.



Sharing knowledge creates a more p
owerful company. By placing a premium on
knowledge, the
organization

sends employees a message that it values their brainpower,
wants them to grow, and creates a learning
organization

is one in which learning from past
experiences and new opportunities are

an inherent part of the corporate culture. This type
of
organization

values knowledge and encourages employees to learn everyday.


2.5 Converting Information to Knowledge

and Organizational learning

Unlike converting data to information, converting inform
ation to knowledge does not follow a set of
structured, predictable steps (Gupta, 2000). The conversion process is similar to what occurs as a
person develops wisdom through continuous learning as he or she experiences different
organizations.


Organizatio
ns that convert information into knowledge effectively must meet several prerequisites.


First, they must create a learning environment that encourages risk taking and accepts the
chance of failure. In such an environment, employees feel comfortable to gen
erate and explore
new ideas and confront new situations.


Second, the
organization

must identify information that is crucial to its long
-
term success.
Because some information that a business generates is not relevant for future decisions, distilling
sig
nificant information improves employees’ ability to solve problems. For example, University
would consider information about quality education essential to its long term success.


Third, the business should create a team of cross
-
functional experts who hav
e the ability to look
at core information and translate it into guiding operational, tactical, and strategic principles for all
employees. In the case of Higher learning, the ability to show employees how to incorporate
ethical considerations in all their
decisions is one way to convert information into knowledge.


Fourth, the organization should develop ways for all employees to access knowledge and then
communicate how and where employees can do so. Many organizations create a repository or”
well of knowl
edge’ so that employees can draw whatever they need whenever they need it. E.g.
Every one should know how her decision should affect the quality education provision.


Fifth, the company should develop knowledge management systems that adapt to the existing

knowledge on an ongoing basis. Converting information to knowledge is a continuous process
that requires long term commitment. For example about quality education services practices,
which change from time to time.




9



Alvesso
n and Kaerreman (2001) contend that the popular understanding of knowledge is
inconsistent, vague, broad, two
-
faced and unreliable. (ibid:3) and thus they question the whole
concept of managing something which is so controversial. Being concerned with the
identification,
mapping (Despres and Chauvel 2000), sharing and dissemination of experiences from within as
well as outside the
organization

through (the media of) information KM must have a significant IM
component. Davenport and Marchand (2000) suggest t
hat KM has two more distinctive tasks: to
facilitate the creation of knowledge and to manage the way people share and apply it. According
to Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995)
organization
al knowledge gets created by human interaction in a
process of conversion, t
hrough socialization, externalisation, combination, and internalisation.
(Figure 2.).



Conversion of
information into
knowledge

Develop Knowledge
Management
Systems that adapt
to change

Ensure empl
oyee
access to
knowledge

Translate
Information into
Guiding Principles

Identify Information
that is crucial to the
company’s success

Communicate about
knowledge

Create a learning
environment

Figure 2: The Prerequisite to Converting Information into Kn
owledge



10





KM can be seen as a strategic organizational effort to institutionalize (1) knowledge creation and
learning, (2) effective use and sha
ring of knowledge and (3) appropriate IM with the overall aim of
improving use of organizational resources, avoiding duplication of errors and driving innovation.
This would ask for strategies to facilitate social processes, which contribute to (1) and (2)

and for
strategies regarding IM.



















Tacit
Knowledge

Explicit
Knowledge

Tacit Knowledge

Explicit Knowledge

To

From

Figure 4: Theoretical relationship between IM, IS, ICTs and IA

Figure 3: Organizational Knowledge through Human Interaction


11

Information, participation and commitment from staff and stakeholders are needed to explore,
interpret and understand the present situation in its complexity and to create the vision of the
anticipated
future situation. It is easy to see that IM is crucial for strategy development. After all,
only that which is known by planners is taken into consideration for their strategies and only when
members of the
organization

are informed about and aware of ongo
ing developments will they be
able to participate and contribute in a meaningful way.



2.
6

Knowledge Management System

and
the
resulting

benefits


Knowledge Management System (KM System) refers to a (generally IT based) system for
managing knowledge in or
ganizations, supporting creation, capture, storage and dissemination of
expertise in the form of information. Enterprise
-
wide Knowledge Management System

integration
connects individual Information
systems

which are dispersed at
deferent

sites so that end
users
would feel that they are using single system. It can comprise a part (
neither necessary nor

sufficient) of a Knowledge Management initiative. The idea of a KM system is to enable
employees to have ready access to the organization's based documented o
f facts, sources of
information, and solutions. For example, an engineer could know the metallurgical composition of
an alloy that reduces sound in gear systems. Sharing this information organization wide can lead
to more effective engine design and it cou
ld also lead to ideas for new or improved equipment.

A
KM system could be any of the following:

Document based
such
as Lotus Notes, web, distributed
databases etc
;
Ontology based: these are similar
to document technologies in the sense that
a
system of ter
minologies (i.e. ontology) is

used to summarize the document e.g. Author, Subject,
Organization etc. as in DAML & other XML

based ontologies. It can also be b
ased on
:
AI
technologies which use a customized representation scheme t
o represent the problem dom
ain,
or; it can p
rovide network maps of the
organization

showing the flow of communication between
entities and individuals
.

Increasingly
the
social computing tools are being deployed to provide a
more organic approach to creation of a KM system.



In re
cognition of the
impotence

of KMS, leaving world
-
class
organizations

have been developing
and utilizing their KMS ranging from single application to enterprise
-
wide applications
e.g.

Arthur
Andersen’s “global best practices”
knowledge

system which
consists

of knowledge o
business

practices (e.g. project proposals,
software

solutions, and reports) in world class
organizations
.
This system is acc
essible

to more
than

40, 000 professionals in Arthur Andersen and permits
them to share the knowledge of how world
class companies obtain “best
-
in
-
the
-
world standards of
performance in activities (Bukowitz, 1996).


Effective Knowledge

management systems therefore
can avoid re
-
inventing the wheel hence
reducing redundant work. It may also reduce training time for new em
ployees; and it brings about
retention of Intellectual Property after the employee leaves if such knowledge can be codified.
Moreover,
k
nowledge begets knowledge. As systems become more knowledgeable and
interactive, new opportunities to use new knowledge

proactively are generated
.

Uimonen, (1997) reveals reduced costs for voice, data and fax communication facilitated by data
exchange through email, Internet and intranets. This brings better, faster, cheaper, more reliable
and more accessible knowledge, wh
ich allows different, parties all across the globe to
communicate with each other. The parties can thus express and access very different opinions
with little or no censorship, which offers unprecedented potential for learning and advocacy.


12

2.
7

Knowledge M
anagement
Technologies and
enablers

Combined with the early development of collaborative technologies (in particular
Lotus Notes
),
KM technologies expanded in the mid 1990s. Subsequently it followed developments in
technology in
use in Information Manageme
nt. T
here have been a number of
technologies

'enabling' or facilitating knowledge management practices in organizations, including expert
systems, knowledge bases, various types of Information Management, software help desk tools,
document management syste
ms and other IT systems supporting organizational knowledge
flows.


The advent of the Internet brought with it further enabling technologies, including e
-
learning, web
conferencing, collaborative software, content management systems, corporate 'Yellow page
s'
directories, email lists, wikis, blogs, and other technologies. Each enabling technology can expand
the level of inquiry available to an employee, while providing a platform to achieve specific goals
or actions. The practice of KM will continue to evolv
e with the growth of collaboration applications,
visual tools and other technologies. Since its adoption by the mainstream population and business
community, the Internet has led to an increase in creative collaboration, learning and research, e
-
commerce,
and instant information.


There are also a variety of
organization
al

enablers for knowledge management programs,
including Communities of Practice, before
-
, after
-

and during
-

action reviews (see After Action
Review), peer assists, information taxonomies,
coaching and mentoring, and so on.


2.
8

Knowledge Management Strategy


Hansen et

al (1999) classified Knowledge Management strategy of consulting firms into two
categories: 1. Codification, and 2.
Personalization
.


Implementation of codification strategy r
equires an Information system that stores knowledge and
allows

its
reuse. Personalization

strategy calls for a network system that links employees for
sharing tacit knowledge. However,
according

to his research (ibid), right KM strategy should be
selected
based on the
organizations

competitive
strategy
. For example, if the company
focuses

on mass
-

market products, codification
strategy

would be appropriate because the reuse of
knowledge is accomplished easily through information systems. On the other hand,

a company
implementing a codification strategy needs to use the
personalization

strategy

in
supporting

role
at the same time (table 1)


Table1: How
Universities

manage their knowledge (adopted from Hansen et al., 1999 pg.109)


Codification

Personalization

Competitive strategy

Provide high quality, reliable, and fast
information systems implementation
by reusing codified knowledge

Provide creative,
analytically

rigorous
advice on high
-
level strategic
problems by channeling individual
expertise

Economic

mo
del

Reuse economics: invest once
in
a
knowledge

ass
e
t,
reuse

it many times

Expert economics: charge high fees
for highly customized solutions to
unique problems

Knowledge management
strategy

People
-
to
-
documents: develop an
electronic
document system

that
codifies, stores,
disseminates
, and
allows

reuse of knowledge

Person to person: develop networks
for linking people so that tacit
knowledge can be shared.

Information technology

Invest heavily in IT: the goal is to
connect people with reusable codified
kn
owledge

Invest moderately in IT: the goal is to
facilitate conversations and the
exchange of
tacit

knowledge


13



2.
9

Knowledge Management processes/Objectives


In the study to assess the challenges that higher education institutions face in implementing
kno
wledge management, Rowley (2000) cited in Sife and Lwoga (2006) examined characteristics
and features successful for knowledge management

Davenport
. Together (ibid) suggested that
universities need to address four key Knowledge Management objectives adapte
d from
Davenport et al (1998), which include the following
:




Creation of knowledge repositories
, which store both knowledge and information, often in
documentary form? A common feature is ``added value'' through categorization and
pruning. Repositories can

fall into three categories: those which include external
knowledge, such as competitive intelligence; those that include structured internal
knowledge, such as research reports, and product oriented marketing material as
techniques and methods; those that

embrace informal, internal or tacit knowledge, such as
discussion databases which store ``know how''.



Improvement of knowledge

access, or to provide access to knowledge or to facilitate i
ts
transfer amongst individuals. T
he emphasis
here
is on connectivi
ty, access and transfer,
and technologies such as video conferencing systems, document scanning and sharing
tools and telecommunications networks are central. There may be an attempt to create a
repository of such knowledge, or the emphasis may be rather o
n access to the individuals
that hold or can provide the knowledge. Identified expert networks are often part of such
projects. Success with improved knowledge access will not be achieved without
addressing organizational norms and values and confrontation

of the relationship between
knowledge and power.





Enhancing

the knowledge environment, so that the environment is conducive to more
effective knowledge creation, transfer and use. This involves tackling organizational norms
and values as they relate to k
nowledge. For example, organizations have to increase
awareness of the knowledge embedded in client relationships and engagements, which, if
shared, could enhance organizational performance. Also organizations may focus on
knowledge
-
related employee behavi
or with, for example, contributions to the
organization’s structured knowledge base attracting significant rewards and bonuses. One
organization has implemented decision audit programs in order to assess whether and
how employees were applying knowledge in

key decisions. Other organizations may even
go further and recognize that successful knowledge management is dependent upon
structures and cultures. A decentralized management structure and a culture that
encourages individuals' creativity may be encourag
ed e.g. walls of fame where
photographs of workers who contribute to intellectual capital are displayed (Mullin, 1996).
In international organizations, there is a real challenge associated with establishing an
organizational culture that transcends nationa
l culture; possibly this can only be achieved
by transferring employees' allegiance from their country to the organization.




Management of
knowledge as an asset, and to recognize the value of knowledge to an
organization. Assets, such as technologies that
are sold under license or have potential
value, customer databases and detailed parts catalogues' are typical of companies,
intangible assets to which value can be assigned. Assessments of other knowledge can
be made on the basis of knowledge that increase
s revenue and reduces costs. For
example, Skyrme and Amidon (1998) propose that knowledge can be measured using the

14

balanced scorecard devised by Kaplan and Norton (1992). Using the balanced scorecard,
an organization is valued on four dimensions, and not
simply in terms of its financial
performance. These four dimensions are: customer; internal process; innovation and
learning; and financial. Metrics in the innovation and learning quadrant can often be
improved by knowledge management activities.


3.
Overa
ll
Analysis of
Knowledge Management in
Tanzanian Universities


3.1
Documents and/ information in Higher learning Institutions


As it was note earlier,
that
it is important for Higher learning institutions to determine and manage their
knowledge assets to a
void duplication of efforts. This study

reveal
s

a

diverse documents
and/
information mainly

pertaining the

nature and requirements of activities to be performed.

The
study n
oted a number of information systems providing information for decision makings inc
luding:

Library
;
Accounting
;
Online learning systems
;

Faculties/institutes/directorates
; and
Health Centers
Information Systems. Others are timetabling system,

and E
xamination and Registration Systems.


The information contained in these systems is in bo
th
print and electronic documents

including:




Students applications forms



Students examination records



Manuals for different operations for the college e.g. bylaws, acts, scheme of services etc.



Staff and Students Medical related files



Reports and proceed
ings of workshop
s
, meetings and conferences



Strategic documents and other documents related to donors



Accounting records



Teaching materials and past

examinations bound in
files



Inventory stock documents etc.




3.2
Information systems in the Universities


The colleges at present are partially computerized in few operations such as the
libraries

(ADLIB)
,
accounting areas (payroll/staff records), and examinations

and registration (ARIS)

and timetabling.

Although every office has at least one computer, they ar
e used for basic office applications such as
Microsoft word, excel, and to small extent access, email and Internet searching. The computers are
for special purpose and operate in real time and therefore, the
information in computers

is

therefore

confined t
o the machines and their knowledge of software is limited only to the commands required to
communicate with these special purpose computers.


The personal computers are not interconnected, with except a few
in departmental
/
building

block
s

for
sharing prin
ting services. Information is therefore locked in individual manual
s

and computer files.
The situation is that when one part needs information for decision
-
making has to physically call or
walk to a respective office where information is located. This mean
s, the needy person has to be
aware where this information is, or else have to require assistance from the computer /file owner.


Nevertheless, there are remarkable moves which brings
good hope in the near future

for Tanzanian
universities
.
All the

Univers
ities
surveyed

had
website
s including the “
www.tumainidsm.ac.tz

for

15

TUDARCo
, ”
www.udsm.ac.tz


for UDSM,


www.suanet.ac.tz
” for SUA

and “
www.tumaini.ac.tz


for
IUCo.

S
ome of the information about the college
could
be found
in
the
se websites
. Through
them
,
admission
,

studentship
application forms
, news and press releases could
be easily downlo
aded
/
accessed

from different corner
s

of the world,
provided that one’s computer

is fully connected.
However, neither of these universities was found to have integrated their
available information
systems.
Information contained in them is locked as islands

standing alone in physical files and
computers. It is therefore hard to know which files contains what information, and therefore
duplications have been the trends while knowledge contained in them is rarely shared.


With exceptional

to TUDARCo, there are

intranets already established in UDSM, SUA, and IUCo
meant for University staff to share information.
The intranets
have become
enabling
to
the members
to share information and read other announcements
. I
t was however; found

to be underutilized.
For
examp
le
in

the U
niversity

of Dar es Salaam

intranet,
one can access staff directory,
Information
Centre
,
Site Map
,
and the
Personal
Profiles
.
In
this intranet

individual staff can easily share
information they have, read
important announcements, and post their
CVs.

The study

revealed

that
only
6
0
% of the staff is aware
about

intranet presence, while only 67% of those who were found
aware have registered to the intranet.
Even so
, of those staff who had registered were reluctant to not
only sharing the informatio
n, but also giving full details of their profiles. For example, although the
UDSM intranet provides for staff to
upload

their CV

and photographs
,
indicate their
phone number
s
,
office numbers and
other
details
, a meager number, about 5% of the staff had giv
en these details in
the intranet.


3.3
Problems and Challenges with the available Information systems


This study explores the following Problems Tanzanian Universities encounter
with
the available
Information system include:



Poor accessibility of informat
ion because they are vastly disorganized, inconsistently
collected

stored and disseminated information.



Information exchange is merely through paper work in the form of letters, memos, minutes and
notes board and the like, causing distortion and loss of in
formation, while operations remain
too slow.



Difficulty in information/knowledge sharing due to scattered different parts of the college.
For
example almost each university surveyed is having more than one campus. For
instance

TUDARCO (Kinondoni and Kurasi
ni Campus
es
); SUA (Solomon
Mahlangu and

Main
Campuses
)

while UDSM is having more than
one
university colleges
.



Information communication and thus decision making in this case are slow, and susceptible to
distortion,



Likeliness of Information leakage to un
authorized parts, due to poor security.


From the above reasons, any strategic knowledge about processes, customers, competitors and good
businesses practices cannot easily be shared, remaining bound to those familiar to. The
Universities
are

therefore at

greater danger of losing all long
-
term accumulated knowledge gained over a quite
long time due to downsizing, resigning
, dying

and change of jobs putting the college at a very
competitive disadvantage. A software system must be th
ought to rescuer the situ
ation.


The overall f
uture plans of
Universities

include:
Product development
-
add more programs in all
faculties
;
Market development
-

through consultancy and research department encourages other non
-
customers to our

products, hence more returns; and
Penet
ration

t
o reach multiple audience locally
and internationally


16

3.4
Knowledge management processes to be done in T
anzanian universities


The growth
of the colleges over a few years by way of expansions, extension of services and
modernization underscore
s

the

need to computerize
and integrate the Information systems. This will
facilitate

operative and management functions
for

better control of resources and to provide basis for
effective management decision making and planning.
In order to achieve this degree
of ownership the
full embedding of knowledge management will be an evolutionary process. The Davenport's four types
of knowledge management objectives are adopted and used here below as a lens through which
Tanzanian
Universities

can implement KM. It start
s with the creation and maintenance of knowledge
repositories; improving knowledge access; enhancing knowledge environment; and, valuing
knowledge.

3.4.1 Create

Knowledge repositories

Strategically important data (e.g. digital format) have to be developed
before, and computerized.
These can be drawn from corporate
individual
database
s

and information systems both
administrative (library, health centre, accounting, registration and examinations, accommodation
and housing, and human resources) and academic fr
om faculties/directories/instates.
They
may
as well
include data /

kno
wledge created from researches
for which generations of scholars and
researchers may draw e.g. journals, conferences proceedings and other publicity disseminated
and validated output.
I
t may also include d
ata from decision made in meeting, critical data about
acts, by laws, employment scheme of services etc.

Others are d
ata about competitor’s strength
and weaknesses and strategies and
the
available opportunities
.

The available

collectio
n of
documen
ts, both electronic and print may be the basis of information

and knowledge

in the
University portal/ware
house
from

which various data marts may be extracted
.
However, it was
observed
that much

effort is needed to ensure the tacit knowledge is
made explicit.

3.4.2 Improving

Knowledge access

In the surveyed Universities, a number of services were revealed. In all the universities there are
websites and within websites, are intranets and mini
-
websites for faculties, directories, and
institutes wh
ere
one c
ould view and share information.

The websites

support communications
among employees, academic staff/ researchers and customer through email chats, b
l
ogs etc.
Others are advertisement through website,
and
the information about the college can off
er link to
selected sources of information, including databases sources of information, and lists of experts.
Advantages are that, it will raise issues of security, and access rights for different categories of
staff and students
.
Other services include e
-
journals, online catalogues
.

Today, through the

intranets for instance one could
access staff directory,
Information Centre
,
Site Map
,
and the
Personal
Profiles

including the CVs
.
However,
The study revealed that only 60% of the staff is
aware about intran
et presence, while only 67% of those who were found aware have registered to
the intranet. Even so, of those staff who had registered were reluctant to not only sharing the
information, but also giving full details of their profiles. For example, although
the UDSM intranet
provides for staff to upload their CV and photographs, indicate their phone numbers, office
numbers and other details, a meager number, about 5% of the staff had given these details in the
intranet.

3.4.3
Enhance the Knowledge environment


Enhancing the knowledge environment is the third type of knowledge management process.
Academic institutions

need to ensure.
Observations show that although there are several
mechanisms for rewarding
academicians and

other members of Universities
to,

the
se
mechanisms are not sufficient to motivate the staff to share and use knowledge within the
University community. Effort therefore are needed to
create a

knowledge environment that reflect

17

both technological and social aspects in terms of ensuring the ava
ilability of knowledge tools (i.e.
expert databases; have network knowledge (know who knows), and user training

to ensure that
users find tools easy to use (Rowley, 2003).
It may also include establishment of department and
resources for research. However,

it is important that the researches
that
match with
University

strategic roles for competitive advantage

is

stressed
.
Universities

can think of establishing
journals
, in which academic and non academic scholars can publish. This will act as a motivation
t
owards more knowledge sharing and learning. Dissemination is necessary for individual’s
recognition. Here adopting of appropriate organizational norms and values relating to knowledge
creation, sharing and dissemination should be
emphasized.
Universities h
ave

to cultivate a team
working spirit especially in research environment and other scientific projects. Others are,
encouraging comments from student through classroom discussion and through comments and
questions in new creative direction.

3.4.4
Valuing
knowledge

The study revealed that the
Universities

currently do not have a proper method of valuing the
university knowledge as an asset.
. In this sense
Universities

have

to establish a system whereby
a significant proportion
of
its financial resources i
s devoted to the payment of staff, whose primary
contribution is to create and disseminate knowledge.
U
niversities

have to experience in valuing
their intellectual capital and entering those values on their balance sheets. If they did, their assets,
and po
ssibly turnover would be enhanced and they would give an appearance of being much
more significant businesses than they do at present. Such valuation and representation of
intellectual capital may be regarded as financial wizardry, but representing knowled
ge as an asset
in this context makes a statement about the nature of the business.

Further, as Rowley (2000) and Townley (2001) emphasizes, a methodology for assigning values
to knowledge assets will need to be developed. Two valuable outcomes of it includ
e: 1 Enhanced
and shared understanding of the role of knowledge in the university. 2 The oppo
rtunity to monitor
the increase and decrease

in the knowledge assets embedded in the organization.

3.4.5
Proposed KM System Configuration and Its Functionality


In (figure.5). BBS stands for Bulletin Board Systems, EDMS for
Electronic Document
Management System, and db for database.





















KM Portal

a.db

b.db

c.db

d.db

e.db

.

f
db

Search Engine

External Database

EDMS

BBS

Workflow

Teleconferencing

Database

Server

Figure 5: The KM System Configuration and Its Functionality


18

Proposed Knowledge Management Framework for
Universities























Recommendations from the Study




Since

the aim of K
M practices is to
capture and share the tacit knowledge and since it is
difficult to identify knowledge emended in peoples’ minds and who need which knowledge,
establishment of environments, use of ICT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) ar
e
recommended. Technologies such as codification to videos, animations and transmissions
across distances and communications via video conferences are emphasized by this
study.



As there are variations in the ability of people to create and share knowledge,

attributed by
differences in terms of disciplines, personalities, values and culture; this study
recommends the creation of supportive environment for staff to share their knowledge by
changing their reward systems.



Institutional and administrative commit
ment is required. Knowledge management practice
should be integrated into the universities in order to nurture, support, and create the
knowledge environment and value it as an asset. Policies and strategies focusing on KM
implementation
and evaluation wil
l bring commitment to top management since they will
understand the value added by knowledge management.



Adequate ICT infrastructure in terms of computer hardware and software,
telecommunications networks are required if University staff are to create, sha
re, and
utilize the knowledge within members, computers and files.







Research

Product, Services, Portal

Contractors

Internal Experti
se

Customers

University

Knowledge

Figure 6: Proposed Knowledge Management Framework
for TUDARCo

Competitors’ strategies, weaknesses and strengths


19

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