Combining Grounded Theory Strategy with Soft Systems Methodology in Knowledge Management Research: An Approach
Knowledge management (KM) is currently an emerging discipline in higher education and its effective implementation is becoming a precondition for success in a globalized knowledge economy. Increasingly, it is being argued that analysis of data and information generated in higher education can be transformed into knowledge that in turn can be used to gain higher educational benefits such as a competitive advantage, minimization of costs, improved quality and responsiveness, or improved service to learners. This paper proposes an interdisciplinary approach to research in KM, particularly in investigating technical ('hard') and organizational ('soft') aspects of KM using grounded theory (GT) strategy combined with soft systems methodology (SSM). Using the explanation that KM research is a human activity system which requires both soft and hard systems methodologies to achieve study goals, a research methodological strategy is proposed for carrying out a study to develop a framework for KM using information and communication technology (ICT) in higher education. It is argued in the paper that this approach is useful to researchers and practitioners alike in carrying out this study as it contributes to a systematic and more effective KM research approach. As well as contributing theoretically to the literature on KM by providing insights into the combination of GT strategy with SSM in carrying out KM research, this paper further seeks to propose a methodological approach that can be used in carrying out research on similar or related KM studies.
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