Effect of Training on Knowledge Management Activities: A Case at Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) (Article)

Abstract

Assets owned by an organization are divided into tangible and intangible, tangible such as human capital and intangible such as knowledge. Organizations nowadays face difficulties in evaluating knowledge. Despite the fact that knowledge being intangible, but knowledge is considered a competitive advantage for organizations if it is positively exploited and well managed. Knowledge should not be only managed, but also other effects of other functions being conducted at any organization. Training is one of the functions of human resources that affect knowledge management (KM).  Review of the literature has addressed evaluation of level of KM, but few of them have addressed the issue of evaluation through activities of KM, namely Acquisition, Documentation, Application, Creation and Transfer (knowledge ADACT) respectively. Literature has also not revealed effects of organizations` functions on KM and concerned activities i.e. ADACT. The first objective of this study is to evaluate level of KM through its activities ADACT at Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR). Currently, training programs are not guided accurately to serve KM at KISR. So, the second objective is to investigate the effects of training programs as one of the functions at KISR on KM activities. The methodology used in this study is descriptive in nature.  A comprehensive survey of the literature is conducted and a quantitative research through a survey is also conducted, along with unstructured interviews. The population in this current study is scientific researchers at KISR. This research showed that the overall KM activities ADACT were implemented at KISR with 66.6%.The percentage level of implementation of KM activities ADACT are as follows: 73% for knowledge acquisition, 68.2% for knowledge application, 65.8% for knowledge documentation, 64.4% for knowledge creation and 61.6% for knowledge transfer. Current research has also revealed that there are four obstacles obstructing the implementation of KM at KISR. These obstacles are ranked depending on corresponding relative weights of responses as follows: leadership 30.48%, culture 28.88%, organization structure 23.84% and technology 16.81%. Current research also showed that training programs affect KM activities ADACT positively as follows: 66.6% for knowledge acquisition, 64.6% for knowledge documentation, 71.6% for knowledge application, 66.4% for knowledge creation, and 71% for knowledge transfer.  

Keywords

Knowledge Management, Knowledge Acquisition, Knowledge Documentation, Knowledge Application, Knowledge Creation, Knowledge Transfer, ADACT

1.0       Introduction

The most important elements of success of organizations are the ability to compete and survive in the market in era of the technological and knowledge. This huge accumulation of knowledge has led to the need to organize and manage knowledge to help organizations achieve strategic objectives and use this knowledge to assist in decision-making. The estimation of intangible assets such as knowledge and human capital is important in modern economies. The problem is that these assets are difficult to measure in contrast to physical assets (Hylton, 2002). Researchers and organizations have developed models to measure the level of KM in enterprises. As an organization, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) was established to promote scientific and applied research, particularly with regard to industry, energy, natural resources, and food resources. In addition, KISR is supposed to give advice and suggest solutions to problems in scientific fields in government sectors. KISR along with government sectors assists in putting government policies for scientific research to be applied to solve problems in environment, water, energy and plantation. This requires optimal use of KISR`s assets to achieve its goal, and knowledge is one important of these assets. This makes the assessment of the level of KM important because what cannot be measured cannot be managed. Besides, without measurement it is difficult to determine success or failure.

The human element is one of the important elements of organizations whether in private or public sector. It is the main driver of all activities and the basis for work effectiveness, especially if this element has the necessary skills and knowledge. Training is one of the functions of human resources that affect knowledge management (KM). The main objective of training is to improve skills and knowledge to perform work (Day, et al. 2006). Training is one of human resources management functions that contribute to improving knowledge transfer as well as the performance of knowledge management activities ADACT.

It is clear from the above attributes that organizations especially those located in the Arab region, need to take into consideration measurement of the level of KM, bearing in mind the paramount importance of organizational performance as input to management development. This research study aims at evaluating the level of KM at KISR in the State of Kuwait and exploring impact of training programs on the activities of KM i.e., acquisition, documentation, application, creation, and transfer of knowledge namely ADACT.

Current conducted research is driven by the following bi-fold problems at KISR:

1. Lack of evaluation of the level of KM at KISR because knowledge is an intangible asset, which makes it difficult to measure and evaluate in spite of its importance.

2. Lack of studying the effect of training programs on KM activities at KISR. In other words, the impact of training programs on KM activities is not determined accurately.

KISR plays a vital role in taking care of applied research, and providing advice and solutions to government with regard to scientific fields. In addition, KISR collaborate with other research institutions and private sector organizations to carry out studies into problems of environment, water, energy and plantation. This leads to the need to improve KM activities ADACT at KISR in order to enhance the ability to keep knowledge-based performance at the organization. On the other hand, this research will help officials at KISR to guide training programs towards serving KM activities ADACT in better ways. Finally, this research also proposes solutions and alternatives to the obstacles encountered in KM activities ADACT at KISR.

 

2.0       Background

In recent years, many researchers have discussed various definitions of knowledge. For example, Vail (1999) defined knowledge as information made actionable in ways that add values to the enterprise. According to Davenport and Prusak (1998) knowledge is experiences, values, contextual information, and expertise insights that provide a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information. Knowledge according to (Singh, 2007) is originated and applied in the mind of the knower. Yang (2007) defined KM as a process of collecting of useful information i.e., knowledge acquisition, organizing, applying knowledge, disseminating it through the whole organization, and storing knowledge. Kim et al (2000) defined KM as processes of identifying, storing, and distributing knowledge in the organization. From definitions above, it is noticed that KM activities are critical for applying and managing knowledge inside organizations. What are these KM activities?

 

2.1       KM activities (ADACT) and Evaluation

Chen and Mohamed (2007) classified KM activities into knowledge acquisition, knowledge dissemination, and knowledge utilization. On other hand, Yahya and Goh (2002) mentioned that KM activities are: knowledge acquisition, knowledge documentation, knowledge transfer, knowledge creation, and knowledge application. Lisa and Cooper (2008) mentioned that KM activities are knowledge creation, knowledge acquisition, knowledge utilization, and Knowledge transfer. Patrick et al (2009) measured acquisition, creation, storage, distribution, use, and maintaining of knowledge at Hong Kong quantity surveying firms. They used a questionnaire as a tool to evaluate the level of KM activities. This tool is divided into six parts; each is related to one of the KM activities. Fillius (2000) evaluated effectiveness of knowledge acquisition, knowledge documentation, knowledge transfer, knowledge creation, and knowledge application at three of Dutch HR development departments. A questionnaire was developed to cover the five “phases” of knowledge management. Monavvarian and Kasaei (2007) investigated characteristics of KM at the Labor Ministry (LM) in Iran. They designed a model to evaluate effectiveness of KM at the labor ministry. The model was designed to measure the four KM activities (cycles of KM) namely, acquisition and creation, sharing, storing, and finally transfer and application.

 

2.2       Importance of Training towards achieving KM

Buckley and Caple (1992) mentioned that training has systematic effort to develop knowledge through learning experience towards achieving an effective performance in an activity or range of KM activities (Ooi and Teh, 2009). Pangil and Nasurdin (2005) stated the crucial role of training in the context of knowledge sharing, acquisition, as well as the responsiveness to knowledge because it provides an opportunity for workers not only to gain or create new knowledge, but also to share their knowledge. Ooi and Teh (2009) mentioned that there is a positive relationship between training and KM, so the greater emphasis on training will lead to a greater impact on KM activities e.g., knowledge acquisition and dissemination. Therefore, it is noticed that there is a relationship between training and KM. Training can be guided to enhance KM activities inside organizations. However, the ways of assessing the effect of training on KM activities should be examined in further research studies.

Yahya and Goh (2002) examined the linkage between training and KM activities. They defined KM activities as, knowledge acquisition, documentation, knowledge application, knowledge creation, and knowledge transfer.

 

3.0       Research Methodology

The methodology used in this study is qualitative and quantitative in nature. Unstructured interviews were conducted and a questionnaire was used as a tool. A research model was developed to evaluate the level of KM activities ADACT and explore the effect of training programs on these activities. The model was adapted as a result of literature surveys. The model consists of two main parts. Part one consists of the five main KM activities ADACT, and forms of applying each activity. Part two consists of KM activities ADACT and forms of effect of training programs on each activity.

 

3.1       Reliability

A reliability procedure is applied in order to make sure that the implemented tool is reliable in measuring the underlying KM activities ADACT. A Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version (17) is used to assess the internal consistency of all dimensions through determination of the Cronbach`s alpha coefficient. Cronbach`s alpha of the part of evaluating KM activities ADACT and effect of training has been calculated. All dimensions resulted in high coefficients alpha values ranging from (0.702) to (0.829).

 

3.2       Validity

Pearson`s correlation between each item and the scale were calculated to assure validity. The Pearson`s correlation coefficient indicates a statistically linear relationship between each item and the scale. All Pearson`s correlation values are positive and ranging from (0.528) to (0.886). Pearson`s correlation of values which are 0.5 or above and positive are generally representing positive and strong correlation.

 

3.3       Research Population

The population of this study is scientific researchers at Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research (KISR). According to job title, researchers are categorized as assistant research scientist, associate research scientist, research scientist, senior research scientist, and principal research scientist. The total number of distributed questionnaires was 134. The number of received questionnaires was 73 with a response rate of (54.48%).

 

4.0       Analysis and Discussion

4.1       Evaluation of KM activities ADACT

In the questionnaire, participants were asked about their opinions on KM activities ADACT at KISR as shown in the questions of each activity in Table (1) below, which shows the mean, standard deviation, percentage of implementation, and ranking. KM activities ADACT are abbreviated as Acq for acquisition, Doc for documentation, App for application, Cre for Creation and Tra for transfer. ADACT is put into this order for a scientific chronological reason, which explains how knowledge proceeds from acquisition (extract), to documentation (write), to application (practice), to creation (innovate), and then to transfer (publish and share). This research is conducted while KISR is undergoing various processes and activities for a new transition developing a new structure and procedures for R&D to be one of a kind in the gulf region GCC, Middle East and eventually the world. This plan is referred to the new KISR transformation plan.

 

  

Table (1): Evaluation of KM activities ADACT

Knowledge Acquisition (Acq)

N

Mean

St. Dev.

Percentage

Standing

(1)   KISR obtains new knowledge from external links (patents, consultants, advisors... etc.) when it is not available locally.

73

4.04

.789

80.8%

1

(2)   When working on an R&D project, I usually work within a team or an external network of professionals.

73

3.78

1.181

75.6%

2

(3)   Collaborating with other researchers in other organizations help me to learn new skills of acquiring clients’ needs and wishes.

73

3.75

1.051

75%

3

(4)   As a researcher, I work actively to obtain information about clients’ and competitors.

73

3.71

1.047

74.2%

4

(5)   KISR hires experts in R&D for acquiring missing knowledge.

73

2.97

1.080

59.4%

5

Knowledge Documentation (Doc)

N

Mean

St. Dev.

Percentage

Standing

(1)   KISR encourages documentation of reports, technical procedures, and publications.

73

4.01

.905

80.2%

1

(2)   There are documented resources available at KISR that are utilized and found useful for my R&D work.

73

3.53

1.068

70.6%

2

(3)   The available organizing and filing R&D system (e.g., technical and final reports) at KISR help researchers greatly in their work.

73

3.29

1.047

65.8%

3

(4)   KISR keeps track of an updated list of internal and external links of R&D expertise to help researchers in their various fields through using some method or utilizing IT.

73

3.29

1.047

65.8%

3

(5)   When a research project finishes, failures or successes are evaluated and "lessons learned" are reported.

73

2.86

1.134

57.2%

5

(6)   At KISR, researchers usually hold brainstorming sessions to explore new clients’ requirements. 

73

2.79

1.166

55.8%

6

Knowledge Application (App)

N

Mean

St. Dev.

Percentage

Standing

(1)   Work at KISR involves conducting market research studies among potential clients before developing a product or delivering a service.

73

3.71

1.007

74.2%

1

(2)   Researchers use their new created results internally for better exchange of best practices.

73

3.30

.982

66%

2

(3)   KISR uses existing "KNOW HOW" in a creative manner for new services and applications.

73

3.30

.982

66%

2

(4)   Researchers learn from clients’ knowledge and experiences to improve services for improved output and expected results.

73

3.30

.893

66%

2

Knowledge Creation (Cre)

N

Mean

St. Dev.

Percentage

Standing

(1)   KISR rewards researchers for successful R&D and innovative ideas either by acknowledgement (i.e., thanking ceremonies and certification) or financial rewarding. 

73

3.36

1.032

67.2%

1

(2)   I use simulation and modeling techniques for explaining research ideas, which helps me in exploring new knowledge. 

73

3.33

.987

66.6%

2

(3)   Researchers make use of the existing “KNOW HOW” for better creation of new services and applications. 

73

3.29

.874

65.8%

3

(4)   KISR clearly and pervasively provides a media for inputting and broadcasting innovative R&D ideas.

73

3.15

1.023

63%

4

(5)   KISR provides a proper R&D environment for researchers to help them to innovate and work as teams and in synergy.

73

2.97

1.142

59.4%

5

Knowledge Transfer (Tra)

N

Mean

St. Dev.

Percentage

Standing

(1)   KISR researchers` transfer within departments and changing tasks, help in distributing their "KNOW HOW" to others.

73

3.23

.906

64.6%

1

(2)   KISR R&D environment allows researchers to collaborate and exchange thoughts formally and informally.

73

3.22

1.193

64.4%

2

(3)   KISR provides a proper R&D environment for researchers to help them to work as teams and in synergy.

73

3.04

1.136

60.8%

3

(4)   There are regular meetings being organized in which researchers inform each other about experiences (e.g., best practices) and successful outputs.

73

2.96

1.123

59.2%

4

(5)   KISR provides a space (e.g., some sort of IT media) where researchers can exchange thought.

73

2.95

.815

59%

5

 

4.2       Fairly implemented KM ADACT activities at KISR

Table (1) above clarifies KM activities implemented elements at KISR that are considered fairly implemented with feedback percentages of ADACT implementation of more than 60%. Acq(1) to Acq(4) scores are higher than 70% of implementation, which states out that researchers at KISR are very active in knowledge acquisition because they need it for better research problems’ identification in order to proceed with research tasks and procedures. This highlights the importance of KISR cooperation and collaboration with other sectors in government in order to pinpoint problems and find solutions to these problems. KISR researchers and management emphasize on KM acquisition because they realize its importance.

 

On the other hand, Doc(1) to Doc(4) with feedback percentages of 80.2%, 70.6%, 65.8% and 65.8% respectively, shows how important KISR researchers and management regulations emphasize on documentation as a source for knowledge access and sharing. Researchers find it vital to have available and easy access to documentation to relate to their ongoing research work (e.g., technical and final reports). This is done by utilizing the available IT resources (e.g., subscribing to digital libraries) available at KISR and the scientific methods used for obtaining latest articles from journals and periodicals for various sciences.

 

When coming to implementing KM application, we find that App(1) to App(4) score feedback percentages of 74.2%, 66%, 66% and 66% respectively. This is evident in the researchers’ work and research methodologies when they explore the “KNOW HOW” through preliminary studies (e.g., general research activities (GRA)). Moreover, this is also evident when researchers conduct feasibility and applicability studies before going ahead with research proposals and real life experimentation. KM implemented application is also validated when researchers collaborate with expertise to verify methodologies and appropriate utilization of available technologies.

 

Regarding implemented KM creation, Cre(1) to Cre(4) score feedback percentages of 67.2%, 66.6%, 65.8% and 63% respectively. This is not considered high but fair enough, and KISR management has a major role in structuring a plan, implementing new work procedures (e.g., workflow automation), intensifying motives and providing tools and facilities to help researchers take off the administration work burden off their shoulders and focus on innovation and new knowledge creation. KISR is in the process of a new structured transformation plan, providing technologies and media facilities for researchers to broadcast and share their research in society and rewarding researchers for their distinguished work, all this help in a great deal KM implemented creation.

 

What is also important and noteworthy, is the KM implemented transfer Tra(1) to Tra(3) which score feedback percentages of 64.6%, 64.4% and 60.8% respectively, which are fair but not enough. KISR management thrives to provide a better R&D environment and encourages researchers to work collaboratively. Researchers on the other hand learn from each other and share their experiences with each other formally and informally through publications, seminars, workshops and social gatherings for exchanging the “KNOW HOW”. This signals positive signs for creating better R&D lounges for implementing KM transfer in the future.

 

As mentioned above it is clear that the implemented knowledge ADACT activities are sorted according to implementation order. Acquisition, documentation, application, creation then transfer are the activities that are supposed to be occurring in a R&D environment. Percentages of knowledge activities as shown in the above table start from high to low, although we would hope that these knowledge ADACT activities score higher percentages.

 

The highest implemented of KM activities ADACT Acq(1): “KISR obtains new knowledge from external links (patents, consultants, advisors... etc.) when it is not available locally.” scoring 80.8% is attributed to government support, and high revenue due to the contracting with biggest private sector organizations. Next is Doc(1) with a score of 80.2%, “KISR encourages documentation of reports, technical procedures, and publications”, which is attributed to the well-known KISR research publications inside Kuwait (e.g., KFAS and KISR annual reports, Annual Research Report, and "Science and Technology Magazine"). This gives a plethora of chances for researchers to publish their research work. Besides, KISR also provides a system for research documentation and report generation (e.g., technical and final reports). Acq(2) and Acq(3) score high as well, stating that “R&D projects usually involve work within a team or an external network of professionals.” and Collaborating with other researchers in other organizations help me to learn new skills of acquiring clients’ needs and wishes. This is attributed to KISR’s management goals and objectives as to establish and foster relations, carries out mutual research with higher institutes (e.g., MIT and NASA). Moreover, KISR thrives to establish strong links with the technological and scientific sectors in Kuwait (e.g., Kuwait University and NTEC), besides various parts of the world.

 

4.3       Weakly implemented KM ADACT activities at KISR

Also, Table (1) above clarifies KM activities implemented elements at KISR that are considered weaknesses and at the same time they are necessities, with percentages of ADACT implementation of less than 60%. Acq(5) scores 59.4% indicating that almost 60% of researchers acquire knowledge from outside expertise and this is normal when you require new knowledge. But researchers on the other hand prefer acquiring missing knowledge from local or regional experts rather than from foreigners who require higher costs.

Doc(5) is clearly a weakness, as learning from mistakes and following recommendations of previous research are a must for avoiding them in current and future research. Doc(6) is a weakness if not followed as a norm in a R&D environment. Currently at KISR, researchers usually hold brainstorming sessions to explore new clients’ requirements. This occurs in most research projects prior to conducting research based on good public relations with government or private sectors. It becomes as a habit for researchers to market their capabilities individually with clients and hold discussion various sessions until a preliminary approval is reached. Researchers continue to strive individually searching for projects in order to maintain their positions. Researchers offer their services in scientific fields to ensure their contributions the projects. Researchers in many occasions do not disclose information about research projects or potential clients until a contract is accepted and approvals are reached. Unexpectedly, clients force researchers not to disclose information about conducted research and mark their work as confidential, while this work is published international. Cre(5) is regarded a weakness. While KISR management tries to provide a proper R&D environment to help researchers work in harmony and synergy, KISR management also always occupy researchers’ time with unnecessary administrative work. This weakness limits researchers’ time to think and innovate.

Researchers at KISR consider Tra(4) a weakness because they do not usually convene to learn from lessons-learnt nor to learn from each other’s’ best practices. There are no pre-arranged meetings for discussing lessons-learnt, experiences and best practices. The latter leads to the weakness Tra(5), which simply put s the burden on KISR management of not providing a space (e.g., some sort of IT media) where researchers can exchange their thoughts and experiences. Besides, researchers also complain of weak IT media e.g., e-mail which always halts and stop working. Most researchers prefer to use their own private email providers such as Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail rather than KISR email. KISR does not either provide other IT media, such as desktop video conferencing which researchers may need to communicate through as a mean for collaboration. During interviews, some researchers said that they sometimes hold meetings but it is not a common practice, in which they inform each other about experiences (e.g., best practices) and successful outputs. When a research project finishes, failures or successes are usually evaluated and "lessons learnt" are reported. Other researchers mentioned that they feel hesitant of reporting failures or mistakes during the process of conducting research projects.

4.4       Relative importance of KM activities ADACT

According to researchers’ responses relative weights of KM activities are estimated as shown Table (2) below.

 

 

 

Table (2): Relative importance of implemented KM activities ADACT at KISR

KM activity

Weight (%)

Creation

24.79 approx. 25

Application

24.55 approx. 25

Documentation

17.71 approx. 18

Acquisition

16.92 approx. 17 

Transfer

16.03 approx. 16

 

The overall implemented KM ADACT activities of 66.6% at KISR is calculated by the summation of multiplying the relative importance of each KM activity mentioned in Table (2) above by its average percentage of implementation mentioned in Table (1) above, as illustrated in the following equation:

Overall implemented KM ADACT activities =

Where;

The is the relative importance of activity i and  is the corresponding average percentage of implementation of activity i. Resulting in the following equation:

 

Overall implemented KM ADACT activities = (0.1692*0.73) + (0.2479*0.644)                                              + (0.1603*0.616) + (0.1771*0.658) + (0.2455*0.682) = 0.66587 ≈ 66.6%

The 66.6% is equal to 3.33 on Likert scale.

 

The overall image of implemented KM ADACT activities evaluation is clear in the following Table (3). Researchers at KISR see that acquisition is the highest, then come application, documentation, creation, and at last the lowest transfer ordered respectively.

Table (3): Overall image of implemented KM activities ADACT evaluation at KISR

KM activity

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Percentage

Standing

Acquisition

73

3.65

0.78176

73%

1

Application

73

3.41

0.70665

68.2%

2

Documentation

73

3.30

0. 74703

65.8%

3

Creation

73

3.22

0.76024

64.4%

4

Transfer

73

3.08

0.80536

61.6%

5

Average

73

3.33

0.55954

66.6%

 

 

4.5       Effect of Training Programs on implemented KM Activities ADACT

Researchers are asked about their opinions on effect of training programs and followed procedures on their implemented KM activities at KISR. Table (4) below shows the mean, standard deviation, percentage of implementation, and standing.

Table (4): Effect of training programs on KM activities at KISR

Acquisition (Acq)

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Percentage (%)

Standing

(1)  Selection of trainees for training programs necessitates them to have prerequisite sessions or knowledge in the field.

73

3.34

1.003

66.8

1

(2)  The training program meets my expectation and what I require to know.

73

3.33

.898

66.6

2

(3)  The training I obtained increased my skills in procedures of data collection and extracting clients’ information.

73

3.33

1.068

66.6

2

Documentation (Doc)

 

 

 

 

 

(1)   Training programs involve brainstorming sessions that enhance my skills in trying to find solutions for problems I face in R&D.

73

3.33

1.001

66.6

1

(2)   Training programs help me to find new methods of eliciting and recording clients’ requirements and generating thoughts.

73

3.23

.993

64.6

2

(3) Training programs include evaluating and writing   down success, failure and "lessons-learned".

73

3.12

1.066

62.4

3

Application (App)

 

 

 

 

 

(1)  Training programs include practical sessions as part of their schedules.

73

3.70

.893

74

1

(2)  Training is usually related to my job description and nature of work in the department.

73

3.58

.999

71.6

2

(3)  Training programs produce new ideas and generate new thoughts that are applicable in real life.

73

3.47

.959

69.4

3

Creation (Cre)

 

 

 

 

 

(1)  Training programs assist trainees in developing new ideas and generating innovative thoughts.

73

3.64

.977

72.8

1

(2)  Trainees apply the "lessons learned" from training programs in order to help in creating new ideas i.e., innovation.

73

3.29

.905

65.8

2

(3)  Evaluating trainees takes into consideration their participation of presenting new ideas.

73

3.04

.949

60.8

3

Transfer (Tra)

 

 

 

 

 

(1)  Training programs involve working in teams as a tool of learning.

73

3.68

.970

73.6

1

(2)  Training programs enhance distribution of learned knowledge among trainees.

73

3.52

.852

70.4

2

(3)  There are scheduled intervals of discussion for the purpose of exchanging thoughts and new ideas among trainer and trainees.

73

3.44

.943

68.8

3

 

 

 

 

Effect of Training Programs on KM Activity

Percentage

(%)

Standing

App(1) Training programs include practical sessions as part of their schedules.

74

1

Tra(1) Training programs involve working in teams as a tool of learning.

73.6

1

Cre(1) Training programs assist trainees in developing new ideas and generating innovative thoughts.

72.8

1

App(2) Training is usually related to my job description and nature of work in the department.

71.6

2

Tra(2) Training programs enhance distribution of learned knowledge among trainees.

70.4

2

App(3) Training programs produce new ideas and generate new thoughts that are applicable in real life.

69.4

3

Tra(3) There are scheduled intervals of discussion for the purpose of exchanging thoughts and new ideas among trainer and trainees.

68.8

3

Acq(1) Selection of trainees for training programs necessitates them to have prerequisite sessions or knowledge in the field.

66.8

1

Acq(2) The training program meets my expectation and what I require to know.

66.6

2

Acq(3) The training I obtained increased my skills in procedures of data collection and extracting clients’ information.

66.6

2

Doc(1) Training programs involve brainstorming sessions that enhance my skills in trying to find solutions for problems I face in R&D.

66.6

1

Cre(2) Trainees apply the "lessons learned" from training programs in order to help in creating new ideas i.e., innovation.

65.8

2

Doc(2) Training programs help me to find new methods of eliciting and recording clients’ requirements and generating thoughts.

64.6

2

Doc(3) Training programs include evaluating and writing    down success, failure and "lessons-learned".

62.4

3

Cre(3) Evaluating trainees takes into consideration their participation of presenting new ideas.

60.8

3

The above table is extracted from Table (4) above it, and it clearly shows training effects on implemented KM activities. The extracted table is sorted from most to least effective training programs effects. Researchers’ responses are sorted out from high (more than 70%) to low (60 to less than 70%) to questions that relate to training programs effects on KM ADACT activities at KISR.

It is worth noting that researchers at KISR consider training programs affect mostly KM activities application App(1) and App(2) and transfer Tra(1) and Tra(2) and one creation Cre(1) with percentages of more than 70%. Then come App(3) and Tra(3) with percentages close to 70% (App(3) with 69.4% and Tra(3) with 68.8%). Researchers think that when they join training programs, these will give them the opportunity to indulge in, explore and share thoughts with trainers and other participants. Acq(1), Acq(2) and Acq(3) come next with less priority to researchers as they see low or fair contribution of training programs towards knowledge acquisition. At last researchers also see low contribution of training programs towards documentation and creation. They see that training programs do not give them enough opportunities to put down and share thoughts (e.g., brainstorming sessions, lessons- learnt and best practices). Researchers also feel fair but not enough opportunities for training programs towards encouraging them to innovate and apply new thoughts into their research activities. The latter is evident in the low scores of Doc(1), Doc(2), Doc(3), Cre(2) and Cre(3) implemented KM activities at KISR. The overall effect of training programs on implemented KM ADACT activities at KISR is calculated in Table (5) below.

 

Table (5): Overall effect of training programs on implemented KM ADACT activities at KISR

Effect of training programs on implemented KM ADACT activity

N

Mean

Std. Deviation

Ave. Percentage (%)

Standing

Acquisition

73

3.33

.81460

66.6

3

Documentation

73

3.23

.86223

64.6

5

Application

73

3.58

.81466

71.6

1

Creation

73

3.32

.79538

66.4

4

Transfer

73

3.55

.76854

71

2

Average

73

3.4057

0.63620

68.2

 

 

Application

71.6

1

Transfer

71

2

Acquisition

66.6

3

Creation

66.4

4

Documentation

64.6

5

 

It is clear from Table (5) and the extracted table above, that the effect of training programs on knowledge application has the highest rank, with 71.6% effect. Researchers attribute that to KISR’s mission "promoting scientific and applied research" and training programs must be focusing on practical sessions. The second highest rank is the effect of training programs on knowledge transfer with 71% effect. Researchers attribute that to the concept of team work as a tool of learning during training sessions. The third rank is the effect of training programs on knowledge acquisition, with 66.6% effect, followed by the effect of training programs on knowledge creation, with 66.4% effect, and last rank is the effect of training programs on knowledge documentation, with 64.6% effect. Overall effect of training programs on KM activities is 68.2% effect, which is fair but not enough for a R&D institute like KISR if compared to others in the same field worldwide.

 

4.6       KM Activities ADACT Obstacles

Researchers estimate the relative weights of KM activities obstacles as shown in the following Table (6) below.

Table (6): The relative weights of obstacle to implemented KM activities

KM activity obstacles

Weight%

Leadership

30.48%

Culture

28.88%

Organization Structure

23.84%

Technology

16.81%

Overall

100%

Table (6) above shows that leadership comes first as an obstacle to implementing KM activities with relative weight of 30.48%. For example, the latest administrative decision of applying the clock card system for attendance and leave restricts the nature of scientific research work and meeting work requirements for hunting projects with clients. Researchers consider KISR’s culture an obstacle to implementing KM activities with a relative weight of 28.88%, which is compatible with Raman (2009) who found that the organization culture is one of the main obstacles with relative weight of 28%. The organization’s culture is an obstacle effecting effectiveness of KM activities, as Aujirapongpan et al (2010) assured that an appropriate organizational culture is a prior requirement for an effective KM. Organization structure is ranked third in terms of KM activities obstacles, with relative weight of 23.84%. Researchers attribute that to KISR being a government institution, hence it is subjected to rules and regulations of a government sector reflected on KISR’s structure. The rigidity of the organization’s structure can act as an inhibitor to implementing KM activities. Lastly, at bottom comes technology which should not actually be considered an obstacle. Technology on the other hand should be an enabler to implementing KM activities at the organization, because it is supposed to speed up work processes. Researchers at KISR find technology an obstacle because most it is not implemented effectively to serve R&D work and collaboration, e.g. email service is slow and ineffective. Network ineffectiveness and improper use of tools that enable researchers at KISR to collaborate with each other and other peers in the world e.g., videoconferencing, contribute to technology being an obstacle.

 

4.7       Recommendations

Moreover, authors of this current study recommend a list of thoughts that should be helpful specifically for KISR management and researchers in order to improve implementing KM ADACT activities. These recommendations are:

-          KISR management should give Kuwaiti researchers support and priority to undertake new projects rather than hiring others. Otherwise, hiring experts from abroad should adhere to certain criteria. 

-          KISR management is to provide proper R&D environment for innovation to take place, and to take the burden of paper and administrative work off researchers’ shoulders in order for them to dedicate full time research.

-          KISR management is to provide and enhance explicit IT media in order to help researchers to exchange thoughts and ideas.

-          Regular meetings (e.g., weekly or monthly) should be a norm at KISR through which researchers inform each other about lessons-learnt and best practices.

-          Reestablishing and activating the office of research project marketing. By marketing KISR scientific services and research possibilities researchers will be collaborating and cooperating with government and private sectors in Kuwait. This will remove stress off researchers in searching for possible projects with clients.

-          Educating public and private sectors about role of scientific research in solving problematic issues in Kuwait. Besides, revising rules and regulations with clients when signing off research contracts and removing the confidentiality issue.

 -   Encouraging researchers to report "lesson-learnt" and "best practices".

Regarding training effects on KM, authors recommend:

-          Assessment of trainers and trainees should involve presenting new ideas.

-          Training programs should focus on enhancing skills of eliciting and recording clients’ requirements.

-          Training programs should focus on enhancing ways of reporting ‘lessons-learnt’ and ‘best practices’.

Authors also recommend the following thoughts to lessen obstacles:

-          Taking into account the importance of KM, and giving it a major role when planning the organization’s strategy.

-          Adopting organizational culture that supports KM activities.

 -   Establishing a supreme council for scientific research in Kuwait and separate             KISR from the Civil Service commission (CSC) authority.

 

5.0       Conclusion and Future Studies

Knowledge is vital for KISR and it is the essence of R&D work. Implementation of KM ADACT activities at KISR is fair, but needs to be improved and this is a challenge. KISR management and researchers need to work on new methods for knowledge acquisition, documentation, application, creation and transfer. KISR management realizes this challenge and it is working towards this goal in the new KISR transformation plan for the years 2010-2030 in order to create a knowledge-based society at KISR. Management at KISR is providing facilities and proper technologies for researchers to take opportunities to invest in knowledge creation and sharing. Researchers at the other hand are eager to utilize whatever possible to enhance the ways they cooperate and collaborate with other peers to improve R&D at KISR. KISR needs to involve key performance indicators (KPIs) based on knowledge. Knowledge activities ADACT are to be monitored, supervised and measured regularly and annually to sustain success. KISR management and researchers are working together towards establishing new rules and regulations towards this coming new trend that is based on knowledge. KISR should work on reducing obstacles and removing them because researchers should work in a problem free R&D environment.

More research into monitoring KM activities, establishing guidelines for measuring knowledge-based activities in R&D. Coming up with certain KPIs for measuring performance and effectiveness must follow because knowledge management is a life-long learning process. Suggested future KM ADACT activities’ studies should be conducted in private and other public sectors. Not only studying training programs effects on KM activities, but also studying effects of culture, leadership, and organizational structure on KM and activities. Of importance, is studying how organization’s strategies enhance implementation of KM. Moreover, studies of establishing good work norms such as ‘lessons-learnt’ and ‘best practices’ should be considered in the future. At end, of utmost importance is studying application of KM towards achieving total quality management (TQM) at the organization.

                        

References

Aujirapongpan, S, Vadhanasindhu, P, Chandrachai, A, Cooparat, A (2010) Indicators of Knowledge management capability for KM effectiveness. Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems, 40 (2):183-203.

Buckley, R. and J. Caple (1992), Coaching in One-to-One Training and Coaching Skills, R. Buckley, ed. 1992, Kogan Page Ltd: London. p. 111 - 120.  

Chen, L, Mohamed, S (2007) Empirical study of interactions between knowledge management activities. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 14 (3): 242-260.

Davenport, TH, Prusak, L (1998) Working Knowledge: How Organizations Manage What They Know. Harvard Business School Press. Boston, MA.

Day, EA, Blair, C, Daniels, S, Kligyte, V, Mumford, D (2006) Linking instructional objectives to the design of instructional environments: The Integrative Training Design Matrix. Human Resource Management Review, 16 (3): 376-395.

Fillius, R (2000) Knowledge Management in the HRD office: a comparison of three cases. Journal of Workplace Learning, 12 (7): 286- 295.

Hylton, A (2002) Measuring & Assessing Knowledge-Value & the Pivotal Role of the Knowledge Audit. Hylton Associates. July 2002.

Kim, HW, Yim, NH, Kwak SM (2000) System dynamics for knowledge-based decision making. Academia Industry Working Conference on Research Challenges,  27-29 April 2000: 107 –112.

Lisa, GA, Cooper, B (2008) Defining knowledge management (KM) activities: towards consensus.  Journal of Knowledge Management, 12 (3): 48-62.

Monavvarian, A, Kasaei, M (2007) A KM model for public administration: the case of Labour Ministry. The Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems, 37 (3) 348-367.

Ooi, B, Teh, L (2009) Developing an integrated model of TQM and HRM on KM activities. Management Research News, 32 (5): 477-490.

Pangil, F, Nasurdin, A (2005) Perceptions of human resource management practices and knowledge sharing behavior: a proposed framework. Sixth Asian Academy of Management Conference, 9-12 December, 1: 77-84.

Patrick, SW, Fong, KY, Sonia, KY (2009) The processes of knowledge management in professional servicesJournal of Knowledge Management, 13 (13): 110-126.

Raman, M (2009) Knowledge management obstacles in Malaysia:  An expletory study. Public sector ICT review, 3 (1): 15- 20.

Singh, S (2007) What are we managing – knowledge or information.  Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems, 37 (2): 169-179.

Vail, EF (1999) Knowledge mapping: getting started with knowledge management. Information Systems Management, 16 (4): 1-8.

Yahya, S, Goh, W (2002) Managing human resource toward achieving knowledge management. Journal of Knowledge Management, 6 (5): 457-468.

Yang, J (2007) Knowledge sharing: Investigating appropriate leadership roles and collaborative culture. Tourism Management, 28 (2): 530-543.

Posted by: Hasan AlMatrouk, Associate Researcher Scientist, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait (06-Jun-2012)
F Twt G+ Li YT