Knowledge management initiatives in selected research institutions in Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study investigated KM initiatives in selected research institutions in Tanzania and how these activities can be promoted. Specifically, it investigated KM strategies and activities; assessed effectiveness of technologies used for KM and identified factors influencing KM initiatives. The study was conducted in Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Mwanza, Morogoro and Mbeya regions in Tanzania. Twenty eight institutions and 205 respondents participated in this study, of these 178 (87%) answered the questionnaire and 27 (13%) participated in in-depth key informant interviews. The sampling frame included all research institutions listed by COSTECH. The study used stratified and purposive sampling techniques. Data collection methods included documentary review, questionnaire and interviews. Data collection tools comprised structured and self-administered questionnaire, with both closed and open-ended questions, and semi structured interview guides. The study findings revealed that the respondents in the surveyed RIs are aware of the concept of KM and understand its benefit potentials; however, they do not consciously and deliberately participate in KM initiatives, hence major weakness in efforts to manage knowledge. The results further show that there are on-going efforts towards managing knowledge in the surveyed RIs, even though not strictly understood as KM. Despite this, the RIs have not put in place KM strategies to guide the initiatives. It was further revealed that the RIs employ a combination of approaches, but the most dominant is the technology-oriented approach which focuses on explicit knowledge, while undermining other types of knowledge. The study concludes that comprehensive and integrated strategies are needed to guide KM initiatives for better results. The findings also show that the RIs implement core and managerial KM activities in an implied and fragmented way without following any procedures. The study concludes that there is a need to implement KM activities in a more active, holistic and systematic manner for greater results in learning, projection and competitiveness. It was also concluded that the noted improved performance, productivity and competitiveness in the RIs cannot be directly attributed to KM initiatives, also to some extraneous factors. The results further show that there are different levels of access to and use of KM technologies in RIs and these have the potential to increase capacity to effectively manage knowledge in organizations and reap benefits from KM initiatives, hence the need to address issues of access and use, integration, training and retention of technical staff in the RIs. The study recommends that the RIs should create awareness and consciously engage in managing knowledge and deliberately formulate a comprehensive and balanced strategy to guide KM processes for greater results. Furthermore, the RIs should enhance KM processes for improved competency, performance, productivity and competitiveness and must put in place clear procedures. The RIs should increase and integrate technologies into KM and organizational activities; invest in infrastructure and improve access and use of technologies. The limitations and challenges faced should also be dealt with accordingly. Lastly, it is recommended that the government should increase funding for research and formulate a national KM policy to guide the country in the process.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF HD30.2.T34K55)
Knowledge management, Research institutions, Tanzania
Kimaryo, C. (2016) Knowledge management initiatives in selected research institutions in Tanzania, Doctoral dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam