CS132-6 Developing Independent Research Assignment Sample

Introduction

Knowledge management is defined as a comprehensive process but works towards the organization and creation, usage, and sharing a collective form of knowledge within the functions performed in an organization. Having knowledge management in place shows that information is easily available to all the employees for working within the organization. Considering the case of Sainsbury, the company is considered to have one of the largest markets in the UK working towards providing customers with fresh foods and vegetables. The goal of the organization is to work towards providing great food at fair prices to the customers and this requires the organization to have complete information at and when it comes to taking price decisions. The following essay will outline the importance of knowledge management in the case of Sainsbury and how it impacts the performance of the company.

Importance of Knowledge Management in organizations

The primary goal of this process is to work towards increasing the efficiency of the employees working within the organization. As argued by Cillo et al. (2020), the ability to have information easily and use it when required also works towards increasing the productivity of the organization as a whole and retaining “critical information” within the company. The concept of knowledge management aims to provide clarity on all kinds of information that is available and how it can be utilized by the employees within an organization to aid in its growth. The system of knowledge management combines a variety of resources to form an efficient and structured system that can be easily used by the employees. As opined by Gao et al. (2018), it comprises Technology and processes, helping organize an array of different kinds of information together to be used by employees. Through the use of the system, it becomes easier to gain a better understanding of how to use the knowledge provided and collaborate leading to increased productivity and alignment.

Five core factors need to be considered when developing a knowledge management program within an organization. As suggested by Grimsdottir and Edvardsson (2018), this includes people, processes, technology, structure, and culture. The people represent the ability of the individuals within the organization to influence the other employees with the knowledge they have. The processes represent the methods that need to be established to include efficient practices and governance so that accurate identification and management along with the dissemination of knowledge can be carried out.

Technology represents the modern methods and tools that need to be implemented to configure the different kinds of information present and enable knowledge management. As critiqued by Islam et al. (2020), the organizational structure that works towards facilitating and encouraging “cross-discipline” ability within the organization. This leads to an increase in awareness and expertise and creates a strong work environment. Lastly, culture represents the development of a positive work environment that facilitates the sharing of knowledge, leading to success and productivity in the organization.

In the case of Sainsbury, the organization works with a large number of people each having their unique abilities that work in increasing the efficiency of the organization. The company is required to have relevant knowledge present about the market so that they can decide on competitive prices that will help in attracting customers. As opined by Rialti et al. (2020), through the use of knowledge management technology, the company will be able to achieve greater success in providing fair value to the customers and reaching its goals. The company needs to work towards the development of a strong cultural environment that will foster creativity and innovation and sharing of knowledge. Therefore, it can be stated that knowledge management will have the ability to enhance the growth of the company and make it more competitive in the market.

Role of Knowledge Management in influencing Company Performance

There lies a strong relationship between knowledge management and the performance of the company in any organization. In order to ensure that knowledge management is being effectively spread throughout the organization the first step is to talk about the structure of the organization and ensure that a decentralized structure is created here (Rialti et al. 2020). In the case of Sainsbury, the company operates on a Matrix structure that helps in eliminating issues that are present in the effective dissemination of information.

However, several studies have shown that having a decentralized structure will lead to the shifting of the power of decision making to the Employees and provide them with an opportunity to create new ideas and innovations. The flexibility present in the matrix structure also helps the organization to effectively manage its performance and competition within the company. This in turn has a direct impact on the performance of the employees leading to increased productivity in the performance of the company.

In the last few years, the company Sainsbury has worked effectively towards the implementation of digital technologies and other modern methods leading to an increase in its work efficiency. As per the view of Sami and El Bedawy (2019), the use of this technology has helped in facilitating the flow of knowledge and communication within the employees leading to increased learning opportunities within the organization. The use of these modern methods had a spillover effect on the employees fostering an environment of creativity within the organization. This has helped Sainsbury, which is towards increasing the sales and improving the quality of the products and services. The company has also started using communication technology that has helped increase the interaction among its employees working in different departments.

Besides communication technology the company has also worked towards the implementation of workforce planning, making it easier to eliminate any kind of organizational communication barrier present. This process helps in improving the knowledge sharing within the organization and also allows access for employees to use this knowledge to their advantage when required. As critiqued by Sprinkle and Urick (2018), this process also works towards ensuring that an effective decision-making process is made possible and the companies can work towards being the most successful in the market. Therefore it can be stated that knowledge sharing to the implementation of knowledge management plays a significant role in enhancing the performance of the organization.

Challenges involved in implementing Knowledge Management to influence Company performance

It is important to note that there are several challenges present when it comes to knowledge management implementation within an organization that can also be traced by Sainsbury. In such a situation the company must remain aware of the challenges that can arise and have effective mitigation strategies developed to combat them. As critiqued by Ugwu and Onyancha (2019), an important challenge that arises in the implementation of this aspect is cultural barriers and language periods. Some of the major challenges that are faced by organizations when implementing knowledge management have been discussed in the following section.

Another major challenge that causes knowledge implementation difficulty is the presence of internal conflict including professional “territoriality.” The increased competition between the employees makes it difficult to develop an environment that fosters the sharing of knowledge and expertise. According to Sonmez Cakir and Adiguzel (2020), the lack of incentives for having set performance management goals also motivates employees making it difficult to implement the process. There is also the challenge of having training and mentoring programs that makes it difficult for employees to have any set idea of what their roles are within the organization. This leads to miscommunication and conflict leading to decreased productivity in the company. Considering the case of Sainsbury, as critiqued by Rialti et al. (2020), it is important to note that the company consists of a diverse workforce making it prone to such challenges. Hence, the company must ensure that such conflicts are mediated so that knowledge management can be effectively utilized.

Solutions to manage the challenges in Knowledge management

The organization must work towards ensuring that the objectives are organized and completely aligned with that of the employees. This ensures that employees complete knowledge about the objectives of the organization and walk towards achieving them. Therefore, as argued by Oliva and Kotabe (2019), having complete knowledge works in favor of the employees increasing their performance and pushing the organization towards growth. This helps in mitigating the issues present within the organization thereby reducing conflicts.

Conclusion

It can be concluded that knowledge management constitutes an important part of any organization as it helps in the development of a strong culture that fosters the exchange of knowledge and expertise. Considering the case of the company Sainsbury, which deals with a large number of employees from diverse backgrounds, there are several challenges the company may face when it comes to the presentation of this process. Therefore, Sainsbury must work towards developing effective strategies that can lead to the development of a strong and healthy work environment promoting the exchange of information. It has also been assessed that having a strong information and knowledge management background helps in increasing the performance of the employees. This occurs as a result of lessening miscommunication and misunderstanding leading to increased efficiency of the workforce. It also leads to a creation of a positive work culture that fosters innovation and creativity and also rewards employees who have shown exceptional performance.

References

Cillo, V., Rialti, R., Bertoldi, B. and Ciampi, F., 2019. Knowledge management and open innovation in agri-food crowdfunding. British Food Journal. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Francesco-Ciampi/publication/331717272_Knowledge_management_and_open_innovation_in_agri-food_crowdfunding/links/5e6f5119a6fdccf994cd7468/Knowledge-management-and-open-innovation-in-agri-food-crowdfunding.pdf

Gao, T., Chai, Y. and Liu, Y., 2018. A review of knowledge management about theoretical conception and designing approaches. International Journal of Crowd Science. Available at: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/IJCS-08-2017-0023/full/pdf

Grimsdottir, E. and Edvardsson, I.R., 2018. Knowledge management, knowledge creation, and open innovation in Icelandic SMEs. Sage Open8(4), p.2158244018807320. Available at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/2158244018807320

Islam, M.N., Islam, M.S. and Razzak, A., 2020. Problems of knowledge management practices in libraries and information centres of Bangladesh. IFLA journal46(1), pp.34-51. Available at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0340035219894359

Jha, J.K. and Varkkey, B., 2018. Are you a cistern or a channel? Exploring factors triggering knowledge-hiding behavior at the workplace: evidence from the Indian R&D professionals. Journal of Knowledge Management. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jatinder-Jha/publication/322307145_Are_You_a_Cistern_or_a_Channel_Exploring_Factors_Triggering_Knowledge-Hiding_Behavior_at_the_Workplace_Evidence_from_the_Indian_R_D_Professionals/links/6106bf440c2bfa282a1476e0/Are-You-a-Cistern-or-a-Channel-Exploring-Factors-Triggering-Knowledge-Hiding-Behavior-at-the-Workplace-Evidence-from-the-Indian-R-D-Professionals.pdf

Oliva, F.L. and Kotabe, M., 2019. Barriers, practices, methods and knowledge management tools in startups. Journal of knowledge management. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Masaaki-Kotabe/publication/331356540_Barriers_practices_methods_and_knowledge_management_tools_in_startups/links/5ccefcfe299bf14d9579aff3/Barriers-practices-methods-and-knowledge-management-tools-in-startups.pdf

Rialti, R., Marzi, G., Caputo, A. and Mayah, K.A., 2020. Achieving strategic flexibility in the era of big data: The importance of knowledge management and ambidexterity. Management Decision. Available at:  http://eprints.lincoln.ac.uk/39381/1/MD_BigDataFlexibility.pdf

Sainsbury., (2022), Home Page, Available at: https://www.sainsburys.co.uk/ [Accessed on 8th March 2022]

Sami, M. and El Bedawy, R., 2019. Assessing the impact of knowledge management on total factor productivity. African Journal of Economic and Management Studies. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Randa-Bedawy/publication/338027955_Assessing_the_impact_of_knowledge_management_on_total_factor_productivity/links/5e5e5ebb92851cefa1d729f0/Assessing-the-impact-of-knowledge-management-on-total-factor-productivity.pdf

Sonmez Cakir, F. and Adiguzel, Z., 2020. Analysis of leader effectiveness in organization and knowledge sharing behavior on employees and organization. SAGE Open10(1), p.2158244020914634. Available at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/2158244020914634

Sprinkle, T.A. and Urick, M.J., 2018. Three generational issues in organizational learning: Knowledge management, perspectives on training and “low-stakes” development. The Learning Organization. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Michael-Urick/publication/321739126_Three_generational_issues_in_organizational_learning_Knowledge_management_perspectives_on_training_and_low-stakes_development/links/5a830919aca272d6501c312d/Three-generational-issues-in-organizational-learning-Knowledge-management-perspectives-on-training-and-low-stakes-development.pdf

Ugwu, C.I. and Onyancha, O.B., 2019. Organizational factors and knowledge management applications to user-centred services in federal university libraries in Nigeria. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science51(1), pp.275-288. Available at: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0961000617726124

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