The Application of Knowledge Management in Enhancing the Performance of Malaysian Universities pp301-313
The government's aspirations of making Malaysia a leading international educational centre in the Asian Region has put a strong pressure on local universities to improve the quality of education they offer. One of the major steps that has been identified by the government to achieve this goal is to enhance the performance of local universities through the application and implementation of an excellent knowledge management (KM) system. An effective KM system requires every academician to practice appropriate management of knowledge in his or her teaching and learning activities, which includes, generating, acquiring, storing and disseminating knowledge effectively to users of knowledge, especially students. A study by the Centre for Academic Development (CADe) of Universiti Putra Malaysia in 2005 found that the level of knowledge management practices in Malaysian universities was merely moderate; and to meet the national aspirations, KM practices need to be developed further from various aspects of structure, facilities and culture among the academic players. The objective of this study is to evaluate the level of practice among the academicians and to determine factors contributing to the effectiveness of knowledge management practices at individual, faculty and university level. Eight local universities, both public and private participated in the study. Factor Analysis was used to determine factors affecting the practices of knowledge management while Multiple Regression Analysis was used to analyse and determine the importance of various variables that will add value, thus improve the performance of Malaysian universities. The results indicate that info‑structure support; infrastructure capacity; info‑culture; and knowledge acquisition, generation, storage and dissemination; are important factors in shaping the KM initiatives. Info‑ structure is found to be the most significant variable. This is consistent with other studies, which confirm that people and cultural issues are the most difficult problems to resolve, but tend to produce the greatest benefits.
Keywords: Organisational knowledge, knowledge management practices, infrastructure, info-structure, info-culture