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ASSIGNMENT

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4 Kelvedon Road
Greencroft
Harare
Zimbabwe

1. ASSIGNMENT DETAILS

Submitted By – Student Number 77457374


Group Code ZIM0112A
Date Submitted : 2013/04/24
Module Code MBL924Q
Assignment Number (1 or 2) Assignment 1
Special Instructions None
Lecturer Mr E. Dube
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Tafadzwa Comfort Nyambira 77454685 tcnyambira@gmail.com 100%


Vimbayi Colleta Mawire 77442350 vimbayim@equityproperties.co.zw 100%
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Contents

Executive Summary ...................................................................................................................................... 3


Literature Review of Knowledge and Knowledge Management .................................................................. 4
Econet’s KM efforts...................................................................................................................................... 6
Challenges encountered by Econet in its KM efforts: .................................................................................. 8
So is KM worth the hassle for Econet? ....................................................................................................... 14
Conclusion .................................................................................................................................................. 17
Reference List ............................................................................................................................................. 18

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Executive Summary

Chan and Lee (2011) accept as true that in the knowledge economy, it is not possible for a company
to maintain a competitive position for a long period of time, regardless of its strength, with the
short life cycles of knowledge and ignorance of intellectual capital.
Zhou and Fink (2003) claimed that intellectual capital (IC) management and knowledge
management should be linked to achieve added value and must be integrated by combining
knowledge management activities with intellectual capital elements to maximize the effectiveness.
Damirchi, Rezvani & Amiri (2012) quoted Klein and Prusak (1994) who defined IC as intellectual
material that has been formalised, captured, and leveraged to produce a higher-valued asset.
Skyrme and Amidon (1998) posit that knowledge management is becoming a core competence
that companies must develop in order to succeed in tomorrow’s dynamic global economy.
The arguments presented by the authors above at different times highlight the need that businesses
have nowadays to increasingly and proactively manage their intangible assets – chief among them
being knowledge.
We discuss the Knowledge management efforts of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (Econet) which is
a telecommunications provider offering services in voice telephony, internet broadband and
recently an e-commerce solution for cashless transactions powered by cellular phone technology
branded Ecocash. Econet was founded nearly fifteen years ago and has reportedly grown to be one
of Zimbabwe’s largest mobile companies (Econet, 2013).
It can be observed that Econet has made some strides towards knowledge management but still
has some way to go in fully grasping the knowledge management concept thereby fully exploiting
the value on offer from knowledge management efforts.

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Literature Review of Knowledge and Knowledge Management

Tiwana (2002) puts forth the definition of knowledge as being a fluid mix of framed experience,
values, contextual information, expert insight and intuition. Ruggles III (1997) also posited that
knowledge is a fluid mix of information, values, experiences and rules. Aktharsha (2011) also
offers a near similar definition when he states that knowledge is defined as information combined
with experience, context, interpretation, reflection, intuition, and creativity.

Tiwana (2002) points out that knowledge originates from the minds of individuals. Aktharsha
(2011) opines that information becomes knowledge once it is processed in the mind of an
individual and is therefore a human act. Aktharsha (2011) further argues that by virtue of it being
a human act, knowledge cannot be stored in computers. He goes on to say that though knowledge
exists in the brain of the knower, it can often be represented in and often embedded in
organizational processes, routines, and networks and sometimes in document repositories – a point
that is also observed by Tiwana (2002). Subramani and Jungpil (no date) suggest that knowledge
can either be tacit or explicit. They denote that tacit knowledge has a personal quality to it thereby
making it hard to articulate or communicate while explicit knowledge is codifiable, can be
disembodied and transmitted for sharing with others thereby reinforcing the former arguments
made by Aktharsha (2011) and Tiwana (2002) that knowledge is a human act and exists in the
minds of those who know it.

Aktharsha (2011) puts forth the definition of data as being letters and numbers without meaning.
He observes that data then becomes information when they are included in a context that makes
sense and can be understood. Subsequently, information becomes knowledge when it is combined
with experience, context, interpretation, reflection and is processed in the minds of individuals
according to Aktharsha (2011). He further reasons that knowledge then becomes information again
once it is articulated or communicated to others in the form of text, computer output, spoken or
written words, or other symbolic forms such as graphs. We are of the opinion that he puts this
argument forward to buttress the view that knowledge cannot be stored in computers but that
computers only act as enablers of its generation, codification and transfer.

Ruggles III (1997) contends that knowledge can be presented in many forms, including process
knowledge (how-to), catalogue knowledge (what is), and experiential knowledge (what was) and

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that all these knowledge types can be generated, codified and transferred. He explains that
knowledge generation includes all activities which bring to light knowledge which is “new,”
whether to the individual, to the group, or to the world. It includes activities such as creation,
acquisition, synthesis, fusion, and adaptation. Knowledge codification is the capture and
representation of knowledge so that it can be re-used either by an individual or by an organization.
Knowledge transfer involves the movement of knowledge from one location to another and its
subsequent absorption.
This then brings us to the important point of knowledge management (KM).

Subramani and Jungpil (No date) indicate that the term knowledge management refers to
organizational efforts to acquire, organize, and make knowledge available so that employees may
make use of it to be more effective and productive. Tiwana (2002) presents a supporting argument
when he says that KM enables the creation, distribution and exploitation of knowledge. Ruggles
III (1997) is of the view that KM covers three main knowledge activities: generation, codification,
and transfer.

Pentland (1995) explains that knowledge creation includes developing new knowledge or
replacing existing knowledge within the organization's tacit and explicit knowledge.

Aktharsha (2011) postulates that knowledge generation includes all processes involved in the
acquisition and development of knowledge. Knowledge codification involves the conversion of
knowledge into accessible and applicable formats. Knowledge transfer includes the movement of
knowledge from its point of generation or codified form to the point of use.

Barclay and Murray (2000) describe knowledge management as a business activity with two
primary aspects:
a) Treating the knowledge component of business activities as an explicit concern of business
reflected in strategy, policy, and practice at all levels of the organization.
b) Making a direct connection between an organization’s intellectual assets — both explicit
(recorded) and tacit (personal know-how) — and positive business results.

They also observe that in practice, knowledge management often encompasses identifying and
mapping intellectual assets within the organization, generating new knowledge for competitive
advantage within the organization, making vast amounts of corporate information accessible,

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sharing of best practices, and technology that enables all of the above — including groupware
and intranets.

Figure 1. The KM process as suggested by Farzin, Kahreh & Khalouiee (2013)

In summary, we contend that KM is about managing organizational processes to create, store and
reuse organizational knowledge as stated by Huang, Lee & Wang (1999).

Econet’s KM efforts

Econet primarily employs a client/server system approach in their data and information collection
efforts. The three-tier client/server architecture permits the separation of applications from the
actual data. Data from source documents such as Customer connection forms, goods received
vouchers or Supplier registration documents are input using a graphical user interface (GUI) hosted
on a Personal Computer (PC) most of which are desktops though a growing percentage of the
workforce now use laptops and tablets such as the Apple I-pad for data entry. The data are then
transmitted to an application server for processing and then passed onto a database server for
storage. The PC to application server to database server relationship is referred to as the three-tier
client/server architecture according to (Brown, DeHayes, Hoffer, Martin, & Perkins, 2012).

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Data and information are transmitted between PCs and servers through a local area network (LAN)
for PCs and servers hosted in the same location. The medium of transmission is primarily the
twisted pair of wires (category 5e with four twisted pairs as described by Brown et al., (2012) for
the wired LAN. Wireless LANs are also present in some office buildings for use by portable
devices such as laptops and tablets. The wide area network (WAN) permits geographically
dispersed users to access the servers on their PCs. PCs in regional offices and shops dotted around
the country are connected to routers in a star topology. The routers then transmit the data and/or
information back to the servers via fibre optic cables and in some instances over microwave links.
In order to store, organize and retrieve organizational knowledge, Econet acquired and installed
an Enterprise Resource Planning system (ERP) supplied by Oracle known as the E-Business Suite
(EBS). Brown et al., (2012) state that an ERP is a set of integrated business applications used for
carrying out common business functions. These can include procedures, formal documents
processing, inventory information and the retrieval and editing of files stored electronically. Thus
EBS permits Econet’s various departments to capture data and/or information that relates to their
various business functions such as inventory control, general ledger transactions, purchase orders,
payroll entries and invoice generation. Other key applications software in use include the point of
sale software (POS) used in the shops to process sales related transactions, the billing applications
for capturing customer information such as names, addresses and also for processing bills
dispatched to customers; a prepaid subscriber registration system, a payroll system for processing
wages and salaries; a Call Centre Management system (CCM) used for receiving, making,
monitoring and processing calls to and from customers. All these transaction processing
applications have web-based GUIs and integrate into EBS and finally to the database servers for
information storage. The PCs in Econet run mostly on Microsoft’s Windows operating system
(OS) while the servers run variants of the UNIX OS and LINUX OS. The database management
system of choice is the Oracle Database.
As has been alluded to, data are stored in databases housed in servers which are located centrally
in a secure site at Econet’s data warehouse or data centre. The servers are mostly mini-computers
although there are some blade servers that are in use especially for high volume transactions such
as information relating to the calls made on the network and the balances in customer accounts
which also tend to be very dynamic in nature and therefore require high speed processing and huge
storage spaces. Historical data that may be required either for recovery purposes or simply for
reference are transferred to magnetic tapes and digital video disks (DVDs) for storage.

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There are other data and/or information that are captured and stored locally on PCs. For example,
when a customer walks into a shop to make an enquiry about a product or service, this information
is captured manually and then converted into electronic format on a spreadsheet or word-processor
depending on its intended use. Microsoft’s Office Suite houses most of the applications used for
this purpose of collating customer information that relates to enquiries or complaints from walk-
in customers. Such information and also that which emanates from meetings is often stored locally
on PCs and not hosted on servers.

The sharing and dissemination of information within Econet occurs over the LAN and the WAN
for users in a similar location and those in dispersed units respectively through the use of primarily
electronic mail (e-mail). Users are given access rights which are password controlled and can
therefore log into the various databases and generate reports to match their specific needs. The
information contained in the reports is then used to generate new knowledge and make decisions
on how processes can be improved for example. Some of these reports are dispatched via e-mail
to intended recipients, other information documents are printed and delivered physically while
some reports are simply viewed from the PC. The intranet is also loaded with documents that the
workforce can download and use or read in order to gain knowledge. Training sessions, scheduled
or ad hoc meetings and workshops which are aided by the use of PCs with applications such as
Microsoft’s PowerPoint for making presentations are also used as platforms to share and
disseminate knowledge. Teleconferences are conducted at times as a way of sharing and/or
transferring knowledge. Knowledge sharing is emphasized especially in technical sections of
Econet such as the Networks department were there is a growing realization that it is risky and
vain if there is only a handful of people with the required expertise who can easily walk away from
the organisation with their knowledge and therefore leave it in a quandary. Knowledge sharing and
transfer also makes it easy for new employees to get information during induction thereby
equipping them to add value to the organisation quickly.

Challenges encountered by Econet in its KM efforts:

i. Econet collects data from sources such as customers and suppliers whom they ask to
complete forms. Some of these forms are illegible because of the style of handwriting that
a certain customer might use. Illegible data makes it difficult to capture accurately at source

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and sometimes the codification of this data occurs at a later time and away from the initial
point of contact. Some of the details such as the address or the date of birth might be
incorrect and thus the quality of the data is compromised meaning also that the resultant
information might be of poor quality. Brown et al., (2012) bring to the fore this challenge
that Econet encounters with data quality when they assert that data quality is a critical issue
when such data are considered to be a corporate asset.

To overcome this challenge of data quality, regular and thorough checks or audits of the
quality of the data stored away in their databases is essential. Moreover key customer
details such as national identity numbers and date of births can be verified against external
databases such as that in the custody of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Econet is taking
steps towards cleaning its critical data and are setting up processes to help them reduce or
prevent the number of errors at the source of capture.
ii. Econet’s data is captured at various sources – some in the shops when customers purchase
new products, other data in the inventory control department and still some data is captured
in Credit vetting for those customers or suppliers who wish to receive services on credit. It
has been noted that this data may be captured in different formats as it may have different
meanings for the persons or functions capturing it. Thus, one can observe that duplicate
data might exist across various databases. One key example is Econet’s e-commerce
service, Ecocash which captures its own customer information in a separate database. The
same information is also captured in the subscriber registration database and thus there is
duplicate data which could have been avoided had there been one point of capture thereby
permitting the data to be captured only once. Brown et al., (2012) recommended that this
data must then be synchronised across all databases so as to minimise on the cost of
duplicate data captured at different sources. We agree with this view and recommend that
Econet seeks ways in which to ensure that this is done.
iii. Another challenge that we note Econet to have in their KM efforts is the vast amount of
data they collect and capture. Tiwana (2002) paints the Econet scenario very well when he
suggests that a lot of businesses have vast technologies in place that assist them to capture
enormous quantities of data. As a result, most businesses are lulled into an illusion that
large quantities of data simply translate into good knowledge which leads to good, accurate
and rational decisions. The voluminous billing transactions that occur daily, customer
information recorded at the Point of sale (POS), network fault reports and complaints all
represent the daily data dosage that meets Econet. Add to that supplier and debtor

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information for the general ledger plus a sizeable number of minutes and project documents
that circulate daily, one can easily appreciate why at times it becomes a challenge to isolate
which is the critical data needed to generate key information and knowledge required for a
specific need and which is not.

To mitigate against getting drowned in the data flood, Tiwana (2002) sets forth the Five
C’s filter for data vetting as proposed by (Davenport and Prusak, no3 date) which we are
of the opinion that Econet’s knowledge generation and utilisation efforts can benefit from.
(Davenport and Prusak, no date) as quoted by Tiwana (2002) recommend that data needs
to be condensed so as to summarize it into a more concise form eradicating all unnecessary
depth and detail. Data then need to be contextualized so that the purpose of its collection
is known, calculated or analysed, categorized so that the unit of analysis is known and then
corrected so that errors are eliminated and gaps in the data are accounted for. Sensible
information can then be made from such data making knowledge generation and therefore
decision making more meaningful and effective.
iv. Subramani and Jungpil (no date) highlight some key challenges encountered in KM efforts
that are also pertinent to Econet. These include:
 Knowledge distribution problems which arise when knowledge to solve the problem exists
(or is believed to exist), but the knowledge is not available at the location where the
problem is encountered. The solution is to make the knowledge accessible which may be
located in another place either as a document or residing in a person with the expertise or
know-how required. Further challenges may arise in that should the knowledge be tacit and
residing in a person, the knower maybe unwilling to share it thereby creating a knowledge
share problem which will need to be overcome before the knowledge can be distributed
and a solution to the problem at hand is made available. In the context of Econet,
knowledge distribution and knowledge share problems occur mostly when a technical
problem arises – say when generating invoices or a customer experiences a network failure
which a customer services agent in the Call centre cannot resolve. It is often difficult to get
people with the technical expertise to be available to share their knowledge as they view
the knowledge to be too sophisticated to be understood by a layman. Brown et al., (2012)
assert that sometimes data or knowledge sharing does not occur due to personal reasons
such as the desire to use it as a power tool to be used for political gain.

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To ease the burden of glitches associated with knowledge distribution and knowledge
share, Subramani and Jungpil (no date) advocate that document repositories be built and
comprehensive workflows be designed to facilitate the gathering and the sharing of
knowledge. We concur with their view as this encourages more collaboration amongst
workgroups in the work place as everyone has the compulsion to ensure that the knowledge
required of them is put down and shared with others. Econet can then extend the use of
their intranet to include a data repository and not just a place where people can download
a few forms or read a few inspirational stories from.
 Knowledge transfer problems according to Subramani and Jungpil (no date) usually follow
when knowledge distribution and sharing problems have been cleared. According to the
authors, those having the problem may have difficulty in recognising the relevant
characteristics of an issue and therefore have a hard time articulating the same to a potential
solution giver who has the knowledge. In turn the experts with the knowledge may be
unable to explain the solution adequately to the person needing it and as a result the
problem may go unresolved. Again, this often happens in instances where some technical
expertise is required such as when a user phones the IT Helpdesk because they have no
idea what happened to their PC which “just won’t work” and the Helpdesk Engineer –
though knowing what the problem is – cannot transfer their knowledge adequately for the
user to resolve their issues.

The authors contend that rich communication can be employed to help with knowledge
transfer problems. This in our understanding will include the use of video chats – perhaps
through applications such as Skype to assist in the knowledge transfer process. We are also
of the opinion that document repositories and training sessions or workshops can help to
bridge the transfer gap as it allows knowledge receivers to partake in the transfer process
while the givers are able to demonstrate practical use especially in training sessions.
Birkinshaw and Sheehan (2002) are of the opinion that to help encourage the behaviour of
knowledge creation, the organization should provide an environment that allows creativity to
flourish through informal spontaneous interactions. The organization could also help by allowing
the employees to experiment with ideas and providing training and conference resources.
Knowledge creation is the key to applying knowledge management in ERP implementation.
Without the creation of new knowledge the implementation team as a whole will rely on old ways
of accomplishing tasks that could be completed in a more efficient manner.

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 Knowledge ownership is yet another problem mentioned by Subramani and Jungpil (no
date) that we note to be a daunting task in Econet. This stems primarily from the fact that
often times the generators or creators of knowledge are not necessarily its users. Idea
generation for new products is usually the preserve of the Business Development section.
The Marketing team – by virtue of their customer engaging activities also throw in some
ideas that are then refined by Business Development and then handed over to the business
“owners” who are either sitting in the Commercial department for products and services
related ideas or in the Technical department for technology related innovations. The
question of ownership then arises especially when the issue of who gets the recognition
and therefore the rewards come to the fore. This will lead to delay in implementation of
most projects.

Subramani and Jungpil (no date) also note that knowledge can be conceived as existing at
multiple levels – not only at the individual level but also at the group and organizational
levels. They further argue that perceptions of knowledge ownership – whether it belongs
to the organization or the individual – are influenced by factors such as the culture of the
organization and the nature of knowledge. The authors then concede that knowledge
ownership problems may be among the most complex issues surrounding knowledge
management systems as the ability to productively create, deploy, and demonstrate
knowledge is an extremely salient component of the identity of a knowledge worker.

To this end, in resolving knowledge ownership problems and perhaps so as not stifle
creative and innovation in an organisation, Subramani and Jungpil (no date) propose that
contributions to knowledge generation and/or creation be tracked. We agree with their view
as we believe that this permits for all efforts to be recognised and duly rewarded. As a
group we feel that there is need for Econet to have a project management team which
coordinates implementation of projects instead of leaving it in a few individuals’ hands.

 Tied to the knowledge ownership conundrum, is the knowledge reuse problem. Subramani
and Jungpil (no date) affirm that there are motivation and reward headaches associated
with the reuse of knowledge that is known to exist. The authors note that every so often,

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distinguishing individuals for knowledge contributions (such as rewarding contributions to
the organizational document repository or rewarding individuals for being helpful in
sharing their expertise) appears paradoxically to create impediments to the reuse of the
knowledge, particularly when reuse involves explicitly acknowledging the inputs or
assistance received. The same writers proceed to argue that individuals in some instances
indicate that they preferred to devise a unique solution to a problem through laborious
knowledge coordination than reuse standard knowledge available in repositories. They
observe that this frequently is the case when the individual believes that acknowledging a
peer's input makes the solution seem like a rehash of a previously available solution and
minimizes his or her own contribution to developing a solution. This view – Subramani
and Jungpil (no date) declare - is consistent with research that puts forward the observation
that those who are helped are viewed as less competent than those who provide help.

Many times in Econet the wheel of knowledge and information is re-invented thus
confirming the authors views on the problems of knowledge re-use and this in our opinion
is a key challenge in the organisation with potential to stifle cross-functional collaboration
in knowledge sharing towards achieving set business objectives. Some individuals have
also been observed to exhibit this tendency which we note to be retrogressive. Subramani
and Jungpil (no date) opine that the refusal to reuse knowledge can create inconsistencies
in solutions offered and we extend this further to say it has the ability to delay unnecessarily
– for example – the launching of a complementary service that can assist Econet in gaining
a competitive advantage over rival competition just because certain quotas of the
organisation are of the opinion that available knowledge is not reusable.

As a way of managing deficiencies associated with knowledge reuse problems, Subramani


and Jungpil (no date) suggest that a knowledge reuse tracking system be put in place. We
extend this line of thought by suggesting that knowledge reuse be recognised and rewarded
when it is acknowledged. The “reuser” must be rewarded for having identified and reused
the appropriate knowledge to keep Econet going forward. We also concede that the culture
and way of doing things in Econet may need to change drastically to overcome these
challenges.

v. Developing a Knowledge management system culture proves to be a daunting task at


Econet. Some quotas of the organisation still struggle to use ERP and some just resist

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following procedures of which level of willingness (or motivation) to share knowledge and
willingness to acquire knowledge are very important according to (Alavi and Leidner
,2001) . Continued training and re-orientation works can encourage knowledge share and
transfer to permit for the effective use of this vital tool and thus improve employee
productivity and subsequent knowledge generation and use.

Critically, Econet could influence knowledge creation and application by making small changes
to how the ERP implementation proceeds. This in our opinion can be achieved by creating an open
environment that is accepting of new ideas, free from negative criticism and allowing for team
evaluation by the intended users of a module before its actual implementation. Thus knowledge
creation in our opinion would then grow exponentially during the use of the ERP should the users
appreciate the tool in the first instance.

So is KM worth the hassle for Econet?

Tiwana (2002) notes that KM enables the creation, distribution and exploitation of knowledge to
create and retain greater value from core business competencies. He proceeds to state that KM
addresses business problems specific to a business – whether it be creating and delivering
innovative products or services; managing and enhancing relationships with customers, partners
and suppliers. We are in agreement with this view that there is need to manage knowledge in order
to drive a business forward and so give it an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage – after
all we think businesses are formed to help customers to solve problems and if KM can be of
assistance – then it is the way to go.
In putting forward KM’s value proposition, Tiwana (2002) also declares that the most valuable
knowledge, skills and competencies in a business exist between the ears of employees. From
experience, we understand and appreciate that a business can have the best technologies and
equipment on offer but cannot create any value unless there are knowledgeable and skilled people
present to make these technologies function in a beneficial and profitable way. Brown et al., (2012)
bring out this point clearly when they discuss the story of Walmart which is renowned for its
collection and use of data to generate valuable knowledge. This particular Walmart story speaks
of how IT staff noticed a below par sales performance of a computer/monitor through analysing
information generated from their shops – supposedly relayed this information to the marketing
staff – who examined the information available and learned about the improperly displayed
monitors and quickly communicated with staff in their stores to correct the display anomaly. After
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rearrangement, sales began to improve. Thus it is the knowledgeable people at Walmart who used
their skills and expertise to generate the requisite knowledge to Walmart to respond quickly to a
situation helping to drive sales up and ultimately profits. The people with their tacit knowledge are
the drivers of business as can be witnessed from the Walmart story.
Econet is no different to Walmart in that it also has a need to be able to respond appropriately and
quickly to situations that impact on its sales and potentially on customer satisfaction. Beckman
(1997) asserts that knowledge is a way of understanding all things about information and data so
as to actively enable performance, problem solving, decision making, teaching and learning of
others. He further notes that the present day, a successful company has the ability to learn faster
than others, to change gained experience quickly turned into action. This we think is what the
Walmart story is all about and indeed a valuable learning point for Econet. KM does matter.

Consequently, by virtue of knowledge being a human act and basically owned by the people who
possess it, it is critical for Econet to pursue KM as much as it is critical for them to engage in
workforce management. If managers need to plan for vacation for their teams so as to refresh them,
it is equally vital to manage knowledge in a similar fashion to encourage its consistent re-use and
“freshening” up so that it remains current and relevant.
Product innovation, good supplier and customer relationships are important for Econet who
operate in the telecoms space where innovation and speed to market – with the right product
offering matters. Tiwana (2002) puts it rightly for Econet when he remarks that with shortening
product and service life cycles, knowledge integration within the organisation and externally with
customer and supplier networks has become the backbone upon which a company can seek the
right opportunities. As follow-up to the previous argument, Tiwana (2002) asserts that this cross-
industry amalgamation or integration with customer and supplier networks is breeding complexity
which can be overcome by those who understand and utilise KM. He goes on to declare that
innovative knowledge has become rare and thus a company’s ability to turn tacit knowledge into
market offerings can see it realise rewards. All the above arguments for connecting with suppliers
and customers to permit for the exchange of ideas and therefore transfer and sharing of knowledge
reinforce why we are of the opinion that it is worth the hassle for Econet to be able to harness and
utilise the knowledge and skills that its workforce possesses as individuals, in groups as sections,
departments and/or as a business entity.
Macintosh (1998) summaries the need for KM when she observes the following:
 Marketplaces are increasingly competitive and the rate of innovation is rising.

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 Reductions in staffing creates a need to replace informal knowledge with formal methods.
 Competitive pressures reduce the size of the work force that holds valuable business
knowledge.
 The amount of time available to experience and acquire knowledge has diminished.
 Early retirements and increasing mobility of the work force lead to loss of knowledge.
 A change in strategic direction may result in the loss of knowledge in a specific area. A
subsequent reversal in policy may then lead to a renewed requirement for this knowledge,
but the employees with that knowledge may no longer be there.
Tisen, Andriessen & Deprez (2006) assert that the knowledge management process aims to support
innovation and encourage the free flow of ideas through the company. It helps increasing revenues
(because the products and services are delivered to market faster) and reducing costs (because it
eliminates redundant and unnecessary business processes). This process increases the time that
employees spend in the company, because their knowledge and efforts are valued by the system
of rewards. Ultimately, the knowledge management process increases the value of the company
and its competitiveness as a whole, because it increases the efficiency and effectiveness, the
relationship of all resources and innovation.

All these reasons hold true for Econet which faces increasing competition from competitors who
are working on finding new ways to appease customers and so lure them away from Econet.
Therefore it is important for Econet to keep abreast with the rising rate of innovation and find ways
of managing the tacit knowledge housed in the minds of its employees – both the remaining and
the retiring. If all this is crucial, then KM is really the way to go.

Barclay and Murray (2000) note that changes in strategic direction may result in the loss of
knowledge in a specific area. This in our opinion is a key reason why every organisation including
Econet needs to engage in KM as this ensures the safeguarding of key organisational knowledge
which can be used to pursue new strategies with great dynamism.

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Conclusion
There has been widespread acknowledgement in the literature that KM is critical for organisations
to create or add value in sustaining competitive advantage through the impact of, and benefit from
its practices. While people create and learn knowledge, they also forget (do not remember the
created knowledge or lose track of the acquired knowledge (Darr, Argote& Epple, 2011). It is vital
that knowledge is stored. We believe it will be crucial for Econet and other organisations desirous
of creating a lasting competitive advantage to pursue KM and saying this we note what Tiwana
(2002) declares: “KM is not compulsory, but neither is survival.” (Tiwana (2002): 6).

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Reference List
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