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

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Author(s): Andrea Potgieter | Thami Dube | Chris Rensleigh

Journal: South African Journal of Information Management
ISSN 2078-1865

Volume: 15;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Knowledge Management | Research & Development Facilities | Sasol

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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