An investigation into engineering knowledge management : a petrochemical organisation as a case study
Modern organisations are increasingly seen as knowledge-based business ventures in which proactive knowledge management is important for competitiveness. The interest in knowledge management seems to have surged across world. In the increasingly competitive and global marketplace, firms are especially keen to integrate and capitalise on the knowledge of their employees and make it available when and where it is needed. In addition, many firms realise the need to educate and indoctrinate new hirelings into the organisation quickly due to the scarcity of global resources and an aging workforce (Teicholz, 2004). As a result, many organisations implement knowledge management initiatives in an attempt to combine and exploit their knowledge assets. It is therefore necessary to critically evaluate Sasol on these terms. How the knowledge management strategy supports organisational processes is investigated along with collective learning and collaborative decision making within the organisation. An in depth literature study was conducted to gain insight into KM concepts and strategies. It also provided a reference to current best practices. Above all, the literature study helped to gain perspective on the complexities of measuring a phenomenon like KM in an organisation. Performance measurement techniques are discussed and reference made to the eras of knowledge management. A short section makes reference to another organisation considered to be a global leader in integration of knowledge management systems. The research design method that was chosen to authenticate the research objectives is qualitative. The interpretive methods employ an inductive approach that starts with data and tries to derive a theory about the phenomenon of interest from the observed data. Results were obtained from a combination of two methods. Published and available secondary data mainly obtained from Sasol resources. The second was structured interviews conducted from a criterion based sampling strategy conducted on employees to obtain primary data. Sasol employees are supportive of the Sasol KM systems and are (to some extent) using it. Many believe that Sasol is a learning organisation and therefore benefitting from the systems in place. However, the people of Sasol are generally not aware of the full functionality of the deployed systems. Therefore the current state of the Sasol KM system integration is the consequence. Organisational Knowledge, unlike personal knowledge, is only of value if it is shared with others who need it (KMI, 2010). In order to enhance collective learning, learning organisations establish specific learning processes that become embedded in work processes. This is the basis of the outcomes and the recommendations of this research.
- Engineering 
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