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Utilising a systematic knowledge management based system to optimise project management operations in oil and gas organisations

Edward Godfrey Ochieng (School of the Built Environment and Architecture, London South Bank University, London, UK)
Oghenemarho Omaruaye Ovbagbedia (School of the Built Environment, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK)
Tarila Zuofa (Faculty of Engineering and Computing, School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Automotive Engineering, Coventry University, Coventry, UK)
Raymond Abdulai (School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK)
Wilfred Matipa (School of the Built Environment, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK)
Ximing Ruan (Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK)
Akunna Oledinma (Warwick Manufacturing Group, Warwick University, Coventry, UK)

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Article publication date: 3 April 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the efficacy of knowledge management (KM) based systems and best practices that could be used to address operational issues in the oil and gas sector.

Design/methodology/approach

Given little was known empirically about the strategies and practices which contribute to improved performance, innovation and continuous improvement in the oil and gas sector qualitative method was used. Semi-structured interviews were used to derive senior managers’ constructs of project delivery efficiency and KM based systems. The interviews were analysed through the use of a qualitative analysis software package NUDIST NVivoTM. Participants were selected using purposive sampling. Validity and reliability were achieved by first assessing the plausibility in terms of already existing knowledge on some of the operational issues raised by participants.

Findings

These were synthesised into a framework capturing seven well-defined stages. All these steps emerged as being related; they are comprised of independent variables. These steps were found to comprise of knowledge management technology approaches, knowledge management people approaches, KM strategies and value enhancing practices.

Research limitations/implications

Although the findings are pertinent to oil and gas organisations, it will be important to conduct follow-up research validating the potential for using the results of this study to establish frameworks for knowledge and information management in different organisations and contexts. This will provide not only data about the validity of the framework in generic terms but will also generate additional data on the application of KM strategy.

Practical implications

As shown in this study, successful KM based systems requires the aligning of business strategy, technology for KM, project management operations with an enterprise knowledge-sharing culture. Such sharing requires managing the behaviour of project personnel such that knowledge transfer becomes part of the organisation’s norm.

Social implications

The implementation of KM based systems requires deliberate planning and action to create the conditions for success and put in place the strategy, leadership, goals, process, skills, systems, issue resolution, and structure to direct and exploit the dynamic nature of project work. The strategies proposed in this research cannot be expected to resolve all KM issues in the oil and gas sector. However, their use defines an approach that is superior to the traditional approaches typically adopted and consequently merits far wider application.

Originality/value

The proposed framework presents a better way of optimising the performance of project-based operations thus enabling oil and gas organisations to reform their poor performance on projects and empower them to better manage emerging cultural challenges in their future projects. Reflecting on their experiences, the participants confirmed that the proposed KM framework and its seven well-defined stages were central to the effectiveness of KM in oil and gas operations. Although the scope of this research was restricted to projects in Nigeria and the UK, the geographical focus of this research does not invalidate these results with respect to other countries. The fact is that the oil and gas sector globally shares some common fundamental characteristics.

Keywords

Citation

Ochieng, E.G., Ovbagbedia, O.O., Zuofa, T., Abdulai, R., Matipa, W., Ruan, X. and Oledinma, A. (2018), "Utilising a systematic knowledge management based system to optimise project management operations in oil and gas organisations", Information Technology & People, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 527-556. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITP-08-2016-0198

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited