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Is there a correlation between knowledge management maturity and organizational performance?

Cornelius Johannes (Neels) Kruger (Department of Informatics, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)
Roy D. Johnson (Department of Informatics, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa)

VINE

ISSN: 0305-5728

Article publication date: 16 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

Beyond critique of current maturity models, the research literature has neglected to supply empirical evidence of the value knowledge management (KM) holds for organizations. The majority of studies, in common with other emergent business philosophies, are focused on large organizations of developed economies, where readily available implementation resources are an underlying assumption. This paper aims to address this issue and to assess the correlation between the successful institutionalization of KM and organizational performance (OP) in a developing economy.

Design/methodology/approach

From a large urban South African university engaged in numerous collaboration programs with industry, the authors gained insight into KM maturity and organizational performance (OP) of three industry groups, over a five‐year period. The authors apply an inventory developed by Kruger and Snyman to a set of nine organisations distributed over three economic sectors in South Africa.

Findings

By evaluating the relationship between KM maturity and OP from within three “time dependent” perspectives, insight was gained to answer the aim of the research undertaken, “Is there a correlation between KM maturity and OP in South Africa?” Diagrammatic presentation of OP scores and KM maturity growth revealed that in five out of the nine organizations there is a clearly identifiable relationship between KM maturity and OP in South Africa in both entities over the period under investigation. In certain instances, the correlations were not easily noticeable and/or were non‐existent. From a mathematical perspective, in comparing the correlation between growth in KM maturity and year‐on‐year growth in OP, it was revealed that six of the eight companies that recorded positive growth in KM maturity also recorded positive (year‐on‐year) growth in OP. In a similar manner, it was established that the company recording negative growth in KM maturity also recorded negative (year‐on‐year) growth in OP.

Research limitations/implications

Because the South African scenario can be considered a benchmark for developing economies characterized by continued change, diversity and even elements of silent intolerance and conflict, this study may be viewed as a “pilot study” to provide a baseline and insight into future research of KM for enabling OP.

Originality/value

This paper is of relevance to strategic managers and KM practitioners interested in gaining insight into the correlation between KM maturity and organisational performance.

Keywords

Citation

Kruger, C.J.(N). and Johnson, R.D. (2011), "Is there a correlation between knowledge management maturity and organizational performance?", VINE, Vol. 41 No. 3, pp. 265-295. https://doi.org/10.1108/03055721111171618

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited