The role of technology in Knowledge Management: trends in the Australian corporate
School of Information Management & Systems, Monash University
Previous research in the UK, in Europe and in the USA has shown different understandings of the
concept of knowledge management and of the role of technology in implementation strategies. This
paper will present discussion of field research by survey of the current business understanding of the
concept of knowledge management and of its uptake trends in the Australian corporate environment.
This will be done by providing background to the current study, by reference to preliminary results
and to further research possibilities.
The discipline of knowledge management has gained prominence within British, European, American
and Asian Pacific companies over the last five years. Knowledge management is a business-focused
approach to the collection of processes that govern the creation, dissemination, and utilisation of
knowledge to fulfil organisational objectives thereby adding value to and increasing the productivity
of the organisation. Knowledge management is a tool to facilitate the transfer of knowledge in its
explicit and in its tacit forms. Knowledge requires facilitation in order for it to be transformed or used
by organisations to create new meanings and innovation. The management of knowledge has
therefore become a new business imperative.
In the business context a key element that creates an organisation’s market edge is the ability to
differentiate itself from its market competitors. One way it achieves this is through the leveraging of
corporate knowledge to better meet the needs of its market base. This the leveraging of corporate
knowledge can better meet the need of an organisations market base by reducing the unit cost of the
production of an item, by better service levels, by increase in staff satisfaction and enhancing staff
quality. Leveraging of corporate knowledge can also plug the leak of knowledge loss in an
organisation due to staff turnover.
Knowledge management theorists Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995), Owens, Wilson and Abel (1996),
Prusak and Davenport (1997), Probst, Raub and Romhardt (1999) and Dixon (2000) maintain that
effective practice of the management of explicit and tacit knowledge acts to increase the effectiveness
and profitability of an organisation.
The understanding of the flow of knowledge, the capacity to manage the flow and leverage the
capacity of the organisation to create and innovate and the place of technology in this schema is an
essential focus in the exploding information age. Knowledge management issues include the
development, implementation and maintenance of appropriate organisational and technical
infrastructures to enable knowledge sharing.
How then is knowledge different to information? Synonyms for knowledge include understanding,
awareness, intelligence, comprehension and wisdom. Synonyms for information include facts, news,
and definition. Knowledge unlike information cannot always be transmitted in its entirety in codified
form. Knowledge can grow from the interaction of individuals or groups in the sharing of prior
Knowledge management processes capture, utilise and re-utilise information using the experience of
staff. This allows innovation and creativity to be enhanced within and through the value chain of
organisational activity. The processes and tools that are employed in the development of a knowledge
management strategy require careful evaluation and must be developed not in a prescriptive way but
rather after careful evaluation of each organisation's specific context.
2 PREVIOUS FIELD STUDIES
An examination of knowledge management research in the last ten years shows that seven surveys by
self administered questionnaire have been distributed to the corporate sector in regions focussing on
Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States. These surveys sought to establish the level of
activity related to knowledge management in those regions.
The Information Systems Research Centre at the Cranfield School of Management conducted a survey
into the state of knowledge management in European businesses (Murray 1998). Their aim was to
find out what the current views, awareness, and plans were to deal with knowledge and its
management as a means to gaining business benefit. The survey was sent to 3000 companies across
Europe and a response was received from 260 chief executive officers or their designated substitute
In the report of this study, the discussion of respondents' views on the uses of technology firmly
dismisses the notion of knowledge management as wholly an extension of the corporate Information
Technology (IT) strategy. IT is described as a facilitator and as a tool of knowledge management.
Technologies are identified as tools for transfer of explicit knowledge across cross-functional
boundaries or silos of knowledge in an organisation. Technologies are identified as a means of
national and of global knowledge integration. This 1998 report identified document management,
GroupWare and online information systems as being used extensively while CD Roms, the Internet
and Intranets were far less used. The report concluded that in the corporate sector medium to large
sized companies in the United Kingdom and in Europe was spending money on knowledge
management. This survey clearly demonstrated from their data that the efforts on knowledge
management were focussed on maintaining or developing a competitive advantage and enhancing
Studies done by David Parlby of KMPG (1998) (2000), Next Generation Research Group (1998), and
Davis et al (1998), demonstrate that companies' experience of the benefits of knowledge management
included better decision making, more rapid response times to key business issues and improved
customer service delivery. In each case technology is described as an enabler that is often under-
utilised. This is a theme that I will examine in this paper.
The range of conclusions that are drawn from these surveys include the lack of co-ordinated strategy,
the lack of training and the lack of management support for a corporate knowledge management
strategy. A study by Hackett (2000) indicates that where knowledge management is applied there are
measurable business benefits to customer service, research and development, sales and marketing. A
McKinsey survey of 40 companies in Europe, Japan, and the United States by Hauschild et al, (2001)
demonstrated that many in executive management continue to regard knowledge management as
primarily a technology based management tool. There is a perceptible business shift reflected in these
survey reports to management coming to understand the notion of creating a holistic strategy for
sharing explicit and tacit knowledge to enable an increase in profitability by improving processes,
products, and customer relations. Other research into the understanding and application of knowledge
management strategies has been described in knowledge management literature. This has been
conducted by case study and has focussed on the knowledge management strategies of individual
companies outside Australia.
An empirical study is an important tool in measuring the current business understanding of the concept
of knowledge management and of its application in the Australian corporate environment. This study
seeks to provide a snapshot of the situation in Australia over three months from March to May 2001
and to interpret that data.
3 RELEVANCE OF TECHNOLOGY TO KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT IN THE
A survey of the literature relating to this topic illustrates volume of work that has been done into
research in knowledge management. Most of this research has been over the last ten years. The issue
of technology as a tool of a knowledge management strategy is a constant theme as research deals with
the concept of knowledge, with where knowledge is located in an organisation and if it can be
embedded in best practices, of how people learn and how knowledge is transferred. The research also
deals extensively with the problems organisation face inhibiting knowledge transfer. Some of these
inhibitors are social, other relate to issues relating to the technological tools referred to here in data
collected from the Australian field study (Zyngier 2001).
In 1999 Bill Gates defined knowledge management as "not even start[ing] with technology. It starts
with business objectives and processes and with recognition of the need to share information (Gates
1999 p.238). Three and a half decades earlier Peter Drucker (1964) discussed the contribution that
knowledge makes to an organisation. He commented that what makes “a business distinct and what is
its peculiar resource, is its ability to use knowledge of all kinds - from scientific and technical
knowledge to social, economic and managerial knowledge”(Drucker 1964 p.5)
Knowledge is understanding derived from experiential learning. Knowledge is 'know-how' that can be
acted upon and includes accrued information that can be employed and interpreted in one context
specific way and then reused in a different context drawing on other relational material. Knowledge is
not facts but can be factual information as applied to a given context - the key here being the
interaction and its application.
Tacit knowledge is transferred between people directly. Explicit knowledge is often but not always
transferred using the medium of technology. An outcome of this process of transfer is the
development of possible new interpretations by individuals of their own understandings and the
possibility to act accordingly. This process forms part of the knowledge development process. This
knowledge development process is not linear but grows incrementally as experiences and learning
build horizontally, tangentially and vertically according to organisational need and the thought
processes of the individual.
3.2 Location of knowledge resources
Allee (1997) looks to the collective intelligence of an organisation. In a "knowledge based
management [the challenge] is trying to understand how a company, business unit, or work team
function as a collaborative intelligence or collective field of knowledge"(Allee 1997 p. 19) Knowledge
here includes emergent knowledge together with the skills and talents that lead to generative learning -
where learning generates new knowledge and creates direction for additional learning. An
organisation often works within the confines of an area that it has functioned for some time. The
processes are familiar, new product development is finely focussed on meeting that needs of a stable
client base. The focus of the company can be introspective to the point that external developments in
their competitor market will be unobserved. Allee’s (1997) organisational comfort zone and Leonard-
Barton's (1995) core rigidities refer to this introspective attitude in individual and organisational areas
where personnel already excel and to the human preference for doing what they already do well.
Introspection is not deliberate for no company would intentionally limit their capacity to service a
Allee (1997) describes the transformation of data to wisdom as “not a linear process but is best
described as a series of concentric circles or the layers of an onion with data on the outermost layer
and wisdom in the centre - data to information to knowledge to meaning to wisdom.”(ibid p.62) This
approach can utilise technology but does not rely on technology as its only tool.
Fahey and Prusak (1998) assert that the implementation of a knowledge management program in any
organisation is reliant on the development of each organisation developing its own specific working
definition of knowledge management. The definition must focus on information flow rather than on
the knowledge itself. The feature of an organisation specific knowledge management program is that
the knowledge is enmeshed in its context. Problems arise when the organisation pays too little
attention to tacit knowledge and innovation, or to resources that are outside the heads of individuals.
The focus of such programmes should create a future direction rather than a focus on coping with the
Similarly when we are developing a technology infrastructure for an organisation we would not look
only at the current need but look at and try to further predict the development of the industry that we
are serving and the development of the technology that we are working with.
In the Emerging Practices in knowledge management Consortium Benchmarking Study (APCQ 1996)
knowledge management is addressed as a tool of best practice by O’Dell, Grayson & Essaides (1998)
They comment the "study results corroborate the anecdotal evidence: Systematic Best Practice transfer
is the one strategy pursued by 100 percent of the organisations pursuing value-through-knowledge".
The transfer of knowledge is seen in the context of the transfer of best practice. Best practice is
usually transferred in codified form as procedures rather than the transfer of tacit knowledge. They
comment that each company has a different set of factors that drive or impede its performance. The
codified form of knowledge has until recently been produced as best practice manuals. As PC
technology, networks, GroupWare and corporate Intranets have become standard business tools, so to
have manuals been more and more readily accessed in digital form. This change has enabled the rapid
dissemination of corporate information, the ready updating of that information and the consequent
diminished reliance on paper manuals of standard or best practice.
To set up an appropriate knowledge management practice O’Dell et al (1998) propose that it must be
based in the value proposition of the firm rather than one externally imposed. That is it must be
grounded in the aims and objectives of an organisation, rather than superimposed on practice. By
looking at the current practices of an organisation, locating the knowledge resources of that
organisation then a strategy for harnessing that knowledge can be developed. This focus ensures that
valuable resources are applied to high pay-off areas. By establishing these priorities companies have a
better chance to achieve positive results, thus enhancing the credibility of the knowledge transfer
Dixon (2000) has further developed knowledge management theory and documented five different
ways that knowledge can be shared in an organisation. Every organisation has its own individual
structure and needs. The lack of systematic and consistent framework for understanding the
mechanisms of knowledge transfer has slowed the analysis of methodology to be used in each
instance. Dixon offers a framework for understanding knowledge transfer that may illuminate this
issue and be applied to the different and individual needs being encountered by practitioners. The
theoretical problem has impeded the development of knowledge sharing practice, as the application of
methodologies has not necessarily proved a good ‘fit’ for every situation.
3.3 Knowledge transfer
Research into knowledge management by Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) is premised on the
differentiation of two types of knowledge: explicit knowledge, contained in manuals and procedures,
and tacit knowledge, learned only by experience, and communicated only indirectly, through
demonstration metaphor and analogy. They maintain that until 1995 U.S. managers had focused on the
management of explicit knowledge contrasting this with traditional Japanese business practices where
the workforce is organised into teams where much attention is paid to the focus on tacit knowledge
transformed into explicit knowledge through practice. Nonaka and Takeuchi examine the Western
positivist cultural approach to the individual and the focus on explicit knowledge as an inhibitor to the
transfer of knowledge.
Leonard-Barton (1995) also looks at the inhibitors and facilitators of knowledge transfer in an
organisation. She enhances the existing notion of core capability and develops the concept of core
rigidity. Frequently an organisation’s expertise derives from the accumulated wisdom or knowledge
becomes embedded in software, in specific configurations of hardware and in standard procedures. As
such compilations of knowledge derive from multiple individual sources that cannot be easily
identified or even separated, the whole technical system can be greater than the sum of its parts. In
this context the term ‘technical’ refers to the whole system of an organisation, not to the technical
infrastructure of an organisation.
Core capability is a facilitator of knowledge transfer and refers to the whole schema of activities in a
workplace. The physical systems together with skills and knowledge bases that set an organisation
apart from its competitors giving it a competitive advantage. The dimensions of a core capability
comprise both skills and knowledge bases that are divided into the following categories: public or
scientific, industry specific and firm specific. The more closely that skills and knowledge bases are
integrated into the firm’s own skills and knowledge bases then transfer of these skills is less easy to
separate from the total processing of the organisation. That is they are less easily able to be codified
and are less transferable. They are embedded into the functioning of the firm. Core rigidity is an
inhibitor of knowledge transfer that functions from the same bases as core capabilities in the activities,
physical systems, skills and knowledge bases of an organisation.
Dixon (2000) has identification of five different ways that knowledge can be shared detailing those
types of knowledge transfer that are explicit and those that are tacit or a combination of the two. This
framework can assist the knowledge management practitioner develop a strategy in the context of the
examination of where knowledge is in the organisation and of how best to facilitate its transfer using
technological tools most appropriately according to the need and according to the technological tools
3.4 Inhibitors to knowledge transfer
In a work on the interaction between humans and computers Preece (1995) discusses the design
criterion required to make computers more user friendly. It could be argued that the launch of the
Windows 95 interface at this time has greatly enhanced the usability of computers. This is not only
through the basic design of the product but through the saturation of the marketplace by the Microsoft
Corporation giving the average PC user a common platform to view software in home and work
environments. This plus the later addition of Internet Explorer as an almost standard web browser
must make easier access to the basic use of computers. How then is the transfer of knowledge
inhibited in the organisation?
It is the organisation's cultural structures and learning disabilities that are repeatedly mentioned as
inhibitors in knowledge management strategies. Leonard-Barton (1995) sees core rigidities as acting
to inhibit knowledge transfer when the very existence of these structures prevent or limit innovation
and movement beyond the established wisdom. Where all the solutions to a workplace problem are
already defined then an external solution to a new problem or an innovative solution to an old problem
may be ignored or never even exposed. By limiting of the application of new ideas the knowledge
creation process is torpified and this stagnates work practices. This practice will lead to the
diminution of product development and of service to clients. The stagnation of the knowledge creation
process will diminish the intellectual development of staff, lowering morale and innovation.
Prusak and Davenport (1997) raise the issue of cultural inhibitors to knowledge sharing giving the
examples of "Mobil where disapproval of bragging is embedded in the culture." Similarly, "a Hewlett
Packard Vice president who transferred from the United States to Australia [was inhibited] in a
democratic culture of mateship that discourages calling attention to individual performance.” (Prusak
and Davenport p.27) Facilitation of knowledge sharing and transfer is to be approached in a
programmatic way rather than relying on good will on an ad hoc basis. Building trust throughout a
company is the key to creating a knowledge-oriented corporate culture. It is the corporate culture that
nourishes a knowledge management programme producing a positive environment in which
employees are encouraged to take risks to make decisions that are efficient, productive, and
Differing cultures within one organisation also act as inhibitors to the efficient sharing of knowledge.
Differing languages reflect differing workplaces, different trades and technical backgrounds, and
different divisions or departments and ranks in a single organisation. These language differences can
limit the ability to communicate in verbal and in written form.
Senge saw the lack of ability to share knowledge and learn in an organisational context as a learning
disability. He applied systems thinking to the organisational learning framework resulting in a
contemplation of the whole rather than an individual component of a system. Organisational learning
is grounded in an organisation’s or individual’s mental models which are deeply ingrained
assumptions, generalisations or even pictures or images that influence how they understand the world
and take action. A learning organisation is one that is continually expanding its knowledge base and
thus its capacity to create its own future. “Information as a commodity has a very short shelf life ...
[B]efore information is of value, it requires the imput of time, prior experience and mental effort to
transform / assimilate information into knowledge.”(Senge 1990) In the current fast paced business
environment an organisation must evaluate the time and cost-loss imperative of the risk of duplicating
work already done and knowledge already acquired in the organisation against the cost of developing
a framework for the capture and re-utilisation of internal expertise and knowledge.
3.5 The role of technology
In a knowledge management strategy technology is an instrument in a collection of processes that
govern the creation, dissemination and utilisation of knowledge to fulfil organisational objectives (see
5 Preliminary Findings below). In this context Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995), O’Dell, Grayson &
Essaides (1998), Prusak and Davenport (1997) and Dixon (2000) discuss technology is a means of
transfer of explicit knowledge that will allow internalisation of that knowledge and thereby its
incorporation into the understanding and experience of the individual. Dixon (2000) particularly
identifies technological tools as facilitators and as a practical means of national and global knowledge
The use of technology as a tool to assist the management of explicit knowledge is unarguable. The
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2000a) informs that of businesses with 100 or more persons 100% of
staff have computers, 95% have internet access, 68% of these companies have permanent IT staff.
These statistics would indicate an almost global use of PC and Internet at this level. The purposes of
business use of the Internet include buying, selling of goods and services and related activities,
banking, email and information searches.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (2000b) informs that "By November 2000 well over half (56%) of
the households in Australia, or over 4.0 million adults had access to a computer at home. The number
of households with access to the Internet at home rose to 2.7 million, or 37% of all Australian
households"(Australian Bureau of Statistics 2000b p.3). Familiarity is indicated as being widespread
in the business and general community where users have many basic skills required utilising an
Intranet effectively as a knowledge management tool
The research presented in this paper casts new light on a measurement of the current business
understanding of the concept of knowledge management and of its uptake trends in the Australian
corporate environment between March and July 2001. It is therefore a snapshot of knowledge
management understanding in Australia at this time.
Conceptualisation was required of the issues:
1. the understanding of the concept of knowledge management at the executive level of management
in the top 1000 Australian private and public organisations
2. the extent of uptake and implementation of knowledge management strategies in the top 1000
Australian private and public organisations
4.1 Study assumptions and scope
This Australian study assumes that there has been a level of acknowledgement of knowledge
management as a management tool in Australia. This is reflected in the Australian business press and
in the business sections of the local press over the last five years.
The aim of this exploratory research project is to examine and measure the current views, awareness,
and knowledge management strategies of the top 1000 Australian organisations as measured by
turnover. This list includes blue-chip companies, medium enterprises, government bodies and tertiary
educational institutions. The research project overviews the present conditions in this sector in
The study uses a population of 1000 organisations. In each organisation survey questionnaires have
been sent to the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Information Officer and the Director of Human
Resources. The survey is accompanied by an explanatory cover letter and reply paid envelope.
Therefore a total of 3000 surveys were sent.
The survey base includes respondent demographics in their age, educational level attained, position,
length of time in the company and in their present position, a company profile defining the industry
sector in which the company operates.
Knowledge Management concepts and knowledge issues including management and the exploitation
of knowledge assets are canvassed. The cultural aspects, perceived obstacles and future plans of a
knowledge management strategy are discussed.
Information already available in the public sphere on each organisation includes:
• company size
• the state in or from which it operates
• current company ranking by turnover
• number of employees
• company turnover
Information on the knowledge management strategies employed by each organisation has been cross-
tabulated against data by industry, by age, position, educational level and length of service of the
respondent. It has also been possible to cross tabulate data by state, by size of the organisation, an by
turnover of the organisation. Conclusions will be drawn on the nature of the current state of
knowledge management practice in Australia.
4.2 The Australian survey instrument
In considering the research hypotheses and having located and evaluated the survey instruments used
by other researchers, the survey instrument being used in this project has been adapted from the
instrument that was developed in 1998 by the School of Management, University of Cranfield, U.K.
The survey instruments were numbered so that the researcher is able to identify the organisation that
has completed the questionnaire. The personal identity of the respondent is unknown as the materials
were addressed to named positions. A survey question requests that the respondent indicate their
The questionnaire is divided into seven parts and was timed to take approximately 20 minutes to
complete. In answering the questions and statements respondents were required to tick appropriate
responses showing a ranking of preference to queries or to multiple choice questions phrased usually
with a single option or single option with an "other - please specify" possibility. The respondent was
also asked to add text where required to questions in the last section.
5 PRELIMINARY FINDINGS
A survey return rate of 15.3% has been achieved. These survey documents have been collated.
Preliminary analysis follows.
5.1 Defining Knowledge Management
The respondents were asked to select from four definitions of knowledge management that represent a
spectrum of the understandings of the concept of knowledge management. These were:
• A technological concept - “the use of information technology to capture data and information in
order to manage knowledge”
• A business focused approach - “the collection of processes that govern the creation, dissemination,
and utilisation of knowledge to fulfil organisational objectives”
• A situation where no visible processes are used but it is - “simply the ability to manage
• About intellectual assets - “taking the form of documents and information bases”
The majority of 85% of respondents defined knowledge management as being a business focussed
approach comprising the collection of processes that govern the creation, dissemination and utilisation
of knowledge to fulfil organisatonal objectives.
Of the remaining 15% of respondents, 7% relate knowledge management to intellectual assets taking
the form of documents and databases, 6% see it as a technological concept and 2% see no visible
process. Organisations therefore interpret knowledge management as a tool for productivity gain.
This tool recognises the imperative to capture the knowledge that organisations have, to share it and to
use it for the benefit of the whole organisation.
Business focussed approach
No visible process
Documents and databases
[Figure 1 Definition of knowledge management]
5.2 Knowledge management initiatives
In Figure 2 It is evident that over 89% of respondents plan to acquire and exploit knowledge that is
required. Over 77% of respondents believe that value can be attached to knowledge and that their
organisation displays awareness of knowledge that already exists within the organisation. Some 58%
of organisations believe that they possess a unique body of knowledge. Over 42% of respondents
believe that in many areas they are replicating what others have done before. Conversely over 39% of
respondents indicate that they neither have any means of tracking the re-use of organisational know-
how, e.g. Re-use of designs or processes or of tracking the re-use of organisational know-how across
departments or units. There is 57% recognition of sharing best practice based on past experiences and
while only 50% have methods of acquiring or developing skills in knowledge management.
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100
Plan to acquire to acquire & exploit knowledge
Belief knowledge can be valued
Display awareness of internal knowledge sources
Replicate knowledge creation
Track reuse of knowledge
Track reuse of cross departmental knowledge
Share best practice
Acquire skills in KM
A unique body of knowledge
Yes No No idea
[Figure 2 Knowledge management initiatives]
There is supporting thematic and statistical evidence in the survey return data to show a pattern over
50% of organisation tracking people who are knowledgeable about key processes, markets and
technologies using internal yellow page directories. The greatest negative response was to the
question on tracking organisation know-how across departments. This indicates the tendency for
organisations to operate in functional silos where knowledge is not transmitted between functions.
5.3 Uses of technology
The survey seeks to establish the uses of technology to support a knowledge management strategy. In
Figure 3 below almost 90% of the organisations surveyed used an Intranet extensively or to a certain
extent as a means of sharing knowledge.
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
Data warehousing or data mining
Search and retrieval agents
Document repositories and management
Electronic bulletin boards
Online information sources
Used to a certain extent
Plan to use
No plans to use
[Figure 3 Technologies in use]
GroupWare is also reported as being used to share information at a lesser rate of just under 70%. On-
line information sources and the Internet generally, are also widely used. Other forms of technology
currently in use or planned to be used include CD Rom utilisation and Video-conferencing, Electronic
bulletin boards, Expert systems, Search and retrieval agents, Data warehousing/mining and document
repositories or document management systems.
It can be argued that the purpose and design of an Intranet is to disseminate knowledge in its explicit
form across an organisation. An organisation with or without an clear knowledge management
strategy must invest considerable resources into the development and maintenance of an Intranet.
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicating an increase of access to and use of the Internet
across all age groups in both the work and domestic environment implies a familiarity with the
functionality of web browsers as a tool for gathering information. The use of an Intranet crosses the
boundaries of ease of use and minimises the requirement for extensive training in the use of multiple
software packages. This enables access information in a large variety of formats.
Issues for consideration in developing an Intranet as part of a knowledge management strategy include
a clear definition of the intention for the development of the Intranet. The Intranet should support the
business objectives of the organisation. An Intranet should provide seamless access to all explicit
knowledge resources available to the organisation regardless of its location and irrespective of the
software application used to store that knowledge. The Intranet should support knowledge
transfer taking into account the need for organisational information security and a the same
time acting to build bridges over barriers to knowledge transfer by the dissemination of explicit
knowledge broadly across an organisation.
Organisational use of Intranets appears to be a growth area for knowledge management strategies.
This notion will be further investigated as survey results continue to be evaluated.
6 FUTURE RESEARCH
This study will enable further research in other possible directions:
• It will allow comparison with studies in other countries, on the understanding of the concept of
knowledge management by company officers and with studies in other countries, on uptake trends
in knowledge management as a management tool.
• It will allow possible collaborative research with similar studies currently being undertaken in
Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
• It will allow review of current academic teaching and research practice in this area.
7 CURRENT STATUS
The survey has been mailed to 3000 individuals in named positions in the top Australian resident
public and private organisations.
A total of 15.1% of questionnaires were returned to August 2001. Initial results indicate a high level
of awareness of knowledge management as a tool for the management of proprietary knowledge.
These results also indicate that while a level of awareness exists, that most initiatives are in their initial
stages. Knowledge management strategies are being put in place as a means of adding value to
organisational structures and that this investment will be reflected in performance indicators. Those
organisations that have programmes in place face barriers to effective implementation.
These responses have been collated to produce preliminary aggregate results for analysis. The final
report will then be written. The report will be published as part of a Masters by research thesis in the
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The author wishes to acknowledge the support given by Assoc. Prof. Frada Burstein. School of
Information Management & Systems, Monash University in the writing of this paper.
Funding for this project has been partly furnished by the Strategic Monash University Research Fund.
Permissions has been sought and received from the project leader, Cranfield School of Management -
IS Research Centre, to make reasonable academic use of the survey instrument in this research.