Monday, 5 June 2017

The Diffusion of the Concept of Knowledge Management among African Scholars: A Bibliometrics Perspective: Business IS&T Book Chapter | IGI Global


The Diffusion of the Concept of Knowledge Management among African Scholars: A Bibliometrics Perspective

Akakandelwa Akakandelwa (University of Zambia, Zambia)
Copyright: © 2017
Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1965-2.ch008


Management (KM) is a new phenomenon that is directly related to the
recent emergence of the knowledge economy and technology advancement. It
consists of the initiatives and systems that sustain and support the
creation, storage, dissemination, assessment, application, refinement
and exchange of relevant knowledge (UNDP, 2012). The application of
Knowledge Management, generally, can assist to facilitate the capturing
and sharing of various experiences by societies. Its acquisition can
ensure that knowledge is converted to useful information which informs
decision making. This sharing of experience and knowledge can take place
through formal meetings or in informal encounters and should be managed
through structured Knowledge Management processes. The understanding of
what constitutes Knowledge Management (KM) has different meanings to
different people. This paper investigates the diffusion of the concept
of Knowledge Management in Africa in the last two decades using
bibliometric techniques. The paper has investigated the total production
of Knowledge Management related publications by African researchers.
Furthermore, the paper has investigated the diffusion of KM concept
through collaboration among institutions of higher learning
(universities, colleges, and polytechnics). It also investigated the
preferred channels of dissemination of KM research, the most prolific
African researchers on KM, and the prominent journals in which these
researchers publish their publications.
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Xu, Sankaran, Sankaran, and Clarke, D. (2008) argued that knowledge
management is not new. Human beings have been practicing knowledge
management from the time when the earliest civilization evolved. They
further observe that in the past several years a large body of
literature on knowledge management has emerged, mainly resulting from
great interest to researchers and scholars. Consequently, there is an
abundance of literature on knowledge management covering diverse topics.
While there are some studies analyzing knowledge management literature,
providing frameworks for organizing this literature and discussing
future research directions and research agenda of knowledge management,
there has been no comprehensive review of knowledge management studies
by African scholars and researchers. Most of the current knowledge
management review studies have been conducted by scholars in the Western
world. This study addresses this gap by looking at the knowledge
management literature conducted by African scholars and researchers. The
study was conducted from multiple perspectives and from different
disciplines, including place of publication, frequency of publication,
and research areas and topics.

The main purpose of this study was
to investigate the diffusion of the concept of knowledge management
among African scholars. The specific objectives of the study were to:

  • 1. Investigate the growth pattern of the knowledge management;
  • 2. Find the geographical distribution of the knowledge management literature;
  • 3. Investigate authorship patterns and degree of collaboration among scholars in knowledge management;
  • 4. Identify
    the core journals that contains a substantial proportion of the total
    knowledge management literature and investigate the features of these
    nucleus journals; and
  • 5. Identify the key research domains of KM and describe the key elements of each domain.
well-known indicator of research productivity is the number of
publications produced by the scientists, institutions and countries. It
is, therefore, hoped that this study will

provide some insight
into the complex dynamics of research activity of African scholars and
researchers in the field of knowledge management. It is also hoped that
the study will motivate African researchers, faculty, policy makers and
administrators to make decisions that will further enhance research
productivity in KM in the coming years. The study proposes a number of
future research directions, which may stimulate more intensive research
in this important field.


Defining Knowledge Management

in research has been defined in many ways. Snowden (1999) defines KM as
the “identification, optimization, and active management of
intellectual assets, either in the form of explicit knowledge held in
artifacts or as trait knowledge possessed by individuals or communities”
(p. 63) while Swan, Newell, Scarbrough, and Hislop (1999) explain that
knowledge management is concerned with harnessing the “intellectual and
social capital of individuals in order to improve organizational
learning capabilities, recognizing that knowledge, and not simply
information, is the primary source of an organization’s innovative
potential” (p. 264). Alavi and Leidner (2001) view knowledge management
as a process involving four basic processes of creating,
storing/retrieving, transferring, and applying knowledge.

early on in the KM movement, Davenport (1994) offered the still widely
quoted definition: “Knowledge management is the process of capturing,
distributing, and effectively using knowledge” (p. 119). A few years
later, the Gartner Group created another second definition of KM, which
is perhaps the most frequently cited one (Duhon, 1998): “Knowledge
management is a discipline that promotes an integrated approach to
identifying, capturing, evaluating, retrieving, and sharing all of an
enterprise's information assets. These assets may include databases,
documents, policies, procedures, and previously un-captured expertise
and experience in individual workers.” A popular working definition of
the field is provided by Davenport and Prusak (1998, p. 5):

The Diffusion of the Concept of Knowledge Management among African Scholars: A Bibliometrics Perspective: Business IS&T Book Chapter | IGI Global

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