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Knowledge management practices and systems in county governments in developing countries: Perspectives from selected counties in Kenya

Joshua Rumo Arongo Ndiege (Computing Department, United States International University, Nairobi, Kenya)
Patrick Kanyi Wamuyu (Computing Department, United States International University, Nairobi, Kenya)

VINE Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems

ISSN: 2059-5891

Article publication date: 30 August 2019

Issue publication date: 12 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

While several studies have indicated the critical role played by the ability of countries to exploit knowledge as an economic resource, it would appear that there have been very few studies conducted on understanding the practices adopted by governments in relation to exploring knowledge, particularly in Africa. The purpose of this study is to investigate the prevailing knowledge management practices and technological solutions used by governments to support knowledge management.

Design/methodology/approach

To address the research objective of this study, semi-structured interviews and document analysis were used. The interviews were conducted with both senior and junior county officials from five counties in Kenya, with a total of 31 county officials participating. Further, various county documents were analysed both to seek convergence and corroborate the interview findings.

Findings

The study findings revealed that no systematic knowledge management practices existed in the county governments in Kenya, which were investigated. On the few occasions that the study did find evidence of knowledge management practices, these practices were isolated, informal, uncoordinated and rarely documented and/or communicated. Furthermore, the study found that there were inadequate policy frameworks in place to support knowledge management practices. The study also revealed a scarcity of relevant technological solutions tailored to support knowledge management practices.

Research limitations/implications

It was, thus, hoped that this research would promote an understanding of the prevailing local circumstances that hinder the effective utilisation of knowledge management practices and systems. The study recommends that county governments develop the capabilities required for creating and sustaining an enabling knowledge management environment through frameworks and policies that foster knowledge management practices and systems. The findings have practical implications for the way in which county governments in Kenya and other developing countries may improve their knowledge management practices and adopt appropriate technological solutions to support such practices.

Originality/value

Much of the existing literature on knowledge management is focussed on exploring such practices in large businesses. Studies centred specifically on the analysis of knowledge management practices in county governments in Africa, and how technological solutions may be used to build such practices are conspicuously lacking in the relevant literature.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

We wish to express our gratitude to the staff of the Maarifa centre at the Council of Governors in Kenya for their support during the data collection period for this study. We also thank United States International University – Africa for providing grant to support this study.

Citation

Ndiege, J.R.A. and Wamuyu, P.K. (2019), "Knowledge management practices and systems in county governments in developing countries: Perspectives from selected counties in Kenya", VINE Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems, Vol. 49 No. 3, pp. 420-439. https://doi.org/10.1108/VJIKMS-01-2019-0014

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited