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Investigating the principal factors impacting knowledge management implementation in construction organisations

Jeffrey Boon Hui Yap (Department of Surveying, Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Kajang, Malaysia)
Hui Min Toh (Department of Surveying, Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Kajang, Malaysia)

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology

ISSN: 1726-0531

Article publication date: 12 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Knowledge management (KM) is crucial to ensure construction organisations effectively take advantage of existing expertise, engendering faster and more effective decision-making. Most importantly, it helps organisations to learn from past experiences. Despite its increasing academic attention, the implementation of KM is still relatively slow across the construction industry. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to gain a renewed understanding of the extent of KM practices in construction.

Design/methodology/approach

Quantitative approach using a questionnaire survey was used to prioritise the 15 critical factors and 9 enables of knowledge creation. Finally, an exploratory factor analysis is used to determine the principal elements of successful KM implementation in construction.

Findings

KM in a construction organisation is significantly influenced by knowledge sharing, collaboration, learning from mistakes, employee training and knowledge strategy. On the other hand, knowledge is created mostly through project mistakes, individual constant self-improvement, challenging barrier, review session and brainstorming discussion. With factor analysis technique, three underlying factors impacting KM practices are capacity and capability improvement, long-term commitment and innovation and synergetic working culture.

Research limitations/implications

Questionnaire survey was used as the single data collection instrument. The findings of the current study shed light on the salient issues affecting KM practices in construction but may not generalise to organisations operating in other industries.

Practical implications

These findings can support first-order KM implementation decision-making and enable the exploitation of existing knowledge assets towards achieving sustainable development and competitive advantage.

Originality/value

Effective KM practices are about finding the best ways to deliver the right knowledge to the right person at the right time, enabling informed decision-making and improving operational efficiencies. The contribution of this study is built upon the examination of the underlying factors of KM implementation; the findings provide insights into the core aspects of KM practices, facilitating managers in prioritising KM strategies that are really going to make a difference.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Special gratitude is extended to those industry practitioners who have kindly participated in the surveys reported in this paper.

Citation

Yap, J.B.H. and Toh, H.M. (2019), "Investigating the principal factors impacting knowledge management implementation in construction organisations", Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 55-69. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEDT-03-2019-0069

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited