Synopsis for SMEs

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					INTRODUCTION




       Today, as more organizations seek to gain competitive edge by increasing their

knowledge base assets, there is a growing trend in the companies to deploy knowledge

management strategies in their business. The research indicates that the large number small and

medium enterprises are adopting knowledge management strategies, than larger organizations, to

move ahead of their competition. Their way of implementing knowledge management is way

different than large organizations ( McAdam and Reid, 2001; Desouza and Awazu, 2006; Basly,

2007; Supyuenyong et al, 2009).


       All the organizations have access to extensive knowledge in the form of customer

knowledge, their needs, the skills required to perform a task, experience required etc. The way

by which this pool of knowledge is maintained and shared by the organization is of central

importance. The knowledge management benefits not only large organizations but also to the

local manufacturing firms and small business enterprises. These SME‟s are benefiting more from

the effective use of knowledge management due to varying reasons, the chief ones among them

are; the less amount of risk and capital is used in these enterprises so the owners or management

do not hesitate to take risks in order to maximize their profits and gain competitive advantage

from the competitors in the markets.


       There are various modes of knowledge already present in the businesses which can be

found in the: workforce experiences, the functional and operational performance of the

organization, the files or documents held digitally or on paper, the future goals and ideas of the
organization and so on. The challenge is to effectively utilize these assets in order to maximize

the performance and production of the organization.


   An effective knowledge management strategy will guide the knowledge sharing in various

levels of an organization including:


      Individuals

      Teams

      Entire organization

      Between different organizations




   This paper will contribute to the development of pool of information for the knowledge

sharing among the small and medium enterprises by relating the results of a study which will

explore the knowledge sharing activities in two Australian small and medium enterprises

(SME‟s). the attention will be paid to the ways by which the SME‟s use their formal and

informal knowledge facilities, and how the leadership in these enterprises influence the

knowledge sharing behavior of people. The study will also find out the effectiveness of

knowledge sharing within the small and medium enterprises and its impact on their productivity.


   The study will also include the ways to collect the important data relative to the knowledge

sharing within the Small and medium enterprises and the results will be interpreted on the basis

of findings and the recommendations will be made.


   The study will be helpful to the managers, owners, employees, workers and other involved

parties of small and medium organizations to understand the role of knowledge sharing within
the organizations, its effectiveness and its impact on their organizational an d employee

productivity.




LITERATURE REVIEW


       Knowledge is a mixture of experiences, values, culture, information, and expert reviews

that provides guidance for conducting and implementing new ideas and research. In the

organizations, knowledge is often found in the documentation or in the repositories as well as in

the routines of people, processes, functions, norms and practice (Evangelista, Esposito, Lauro, &

Raffa, 2010).



       Knowledge is divided into two divisions; tacit and explicit knowledge. Tacit knowledge

takes its place in the minds, is expressed through application in various things and this type of

knowledge can be transferred via learning and watching how things are happening. The explicit

knowledge, on the other hand, is easy to grasp, it can be easily obtained and secured in the

databases. It can be created, noted and transferred to the people either verbally or through

electronic programs. (Ngah & Jusoff, 2009).



       Knowledge is very important asset to organizations and small and medium enterprises

(SME‟s). It allows the people to obtain and retain competitive advantage over competition. For

this reason, Knowledge sharing plays very significant role in the firms and organizations. The

knowledge sharing is one of the strategic implications used by the organizations to maximize

their profits and productivity. The knowledge sharing provides them the opportunities to learn
and understand to implement innovation to their systems and processes to remain in the

competition (Alwi, Hamid &Bakar, 2009). Barber et al (1989) explained the knowledge sharing

activities in the SME‟s and the importance of knowledge sharing to them; he mentioned that the

SME‟s tends to be smaller firms and usually the rate of turnover is high in them, so the

knowledge must be acquired from the specialists working in these firms to maximize their

knowledge base.



       The knowledge sharing is based on the principle of transferring important and useful

information from one person to another in the system or organization (Gouza, 2006). This

requires the organization‟s ability to transfer knowledge from one part to another. If the

knowledge is only saved in the databases and is not used by the people then no one can get

benefited from it and it cannot be utilized to learn. For instance, if the mistakes are recorded but

not communicated with the people then they will never learn and understand from those mistakes

(Evangelista, Esposito, Lauro, &Raffa, 2010). The ability of an organization to transfer

information from one place to another and utilize it for its better performance is highly

dependent on the people working in it (Alwi, Hamid &Bakar, 2009). Without sharing knowledge

and information, it is impossible to learn and perform in accordance to gain maximized impact

(Goh, 2002).


       Knowledge sharing involves acquiring existing knowledge, and applying it to develop

and obtain new ideas or enhance the existing one to make a process and function to perform

better or safer than it would have been before. This implies, knowledge sharing is not only about

the exploring the resources but it also suggests the measures of its acquisition and absorption to

make things and processes effective and efficient (Liyanage, Elhag, Ballal & Li, 2009).
         There are many models of knowledge sharing identified by the researchers helpful for the

firms in knowledge sharing, among them are; Bozeman (2000), Ngoc (2005) and Branchos et.al

(2007) models which are highly appreciated and utilized by the organizations for the process of

knowledge sharing.




STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM



         The study will discuss the effectiveness of adopting Knowledge sharing within small and

medium enterprises. The study will also help to understand the role of knowledge sharing or

knowledge management in the organizations, Small and Medium Enterprises (SME‟s) in

particular. So it is entitled as “the effectiveness of adopting knowledge sharing within Small and

Medium Enterprises (SME‟s).”




OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY



The study will conducted under the following objectives:



   I)       To understand the role of knowledge sharing within small and medium enterprises

            (SME‟s).

   II)      To find out the effectiveness of knowledge sharing within small and medium

            enterprises (SME‟s).
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY



         Knowledge management or knowledge sharing has become very important for today‟s

organizations. The rapid growth of information technology, the globalization of economies and

increased emphasis on the knowledge and information gathering and cut throat competition

among the companies in the market has made it inevitable for the organizations to pursue the

ways through which the organizations can maximize their profits and gain productive

advantages.


         One way of getting these things done is to increase the flow of information and

knowledge within the organization. This can be done by knowledge sharing from top to bottom

of the organization via internal and external means. Knowledge sharing is a systematic process

through which knowledge and learning is created, acquired, organized, learned, shared and

further utilized in the organizations to achieve their goals and objectives in the long run. The

knowledge can be acquired through various means. It can be gained from the experiences of the

management, it can be inside the minds of employees, it can be explored through lectures from

outside resource persons, and the knowledge can be stored in the form of electronic database and

so on.


         The knowledge sharing is a very interesting concept that have gained lot of attraction

from large to small and medium enterprises (SME‟s) across the globe to maximize their

likelihood of success. The knowledge sharing also have to face some barriers while its

implementation. Those barriers might be the culture, the management, the accessibility of
functions and procedures, the equipment, the facilities etc. but once the barriers are overcome,

the knowledge sharing can benefit the organization for their long term achievements.


       The knowledge management requires carefully planned strategy to be implemented

within the organizations. It also requires a platform where the people can interact with each other

and knowledge exchange can take place. Knowledge sharing provides many fold benefits to the

businesses that those opportunities cannot be neglected. It is a source through which meaningful

information can be transformed and utilized into important figures and facts that can be used in

the businesses to create value for the customers and employees etc.


The study will be beneficial to the large organizations as well as small and medium enterprises

(SME‟s) at large. The study will explore the importance of knowledge sharing within these

organizations and how the knowledge sharing can be enhanced to gain additional profits and

efficiency. The study will benefit to the managers, owners, employees, workers to motivate them

for the knowledge sharing experience and will help them to explore the opportunities to open up

and communicate their valuable insights with one another.


The study will benefit the set of people who will benefit from the experiences, case studies,

stories of the external leaders who will guide them through their own experiences in their

organizations. The study will benefit the people to find out the factors that hinder their likelihood

of success in the process of achieving their goals. The study will also explore the effectiveness of

knowledge sharing and its impact on the profitability of small and medium enterprises (SME‟s).

This study will also benefit them in order to devise active strategies for the implementation of

knowledge sharing in their processes, functions and other business units.
DELIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY



The study will be delimited to:


   1) Small and Medium Enterprises (SME‟s) only.

   2) Two Australian small and medium enterprises (SME‟s) only.

   3) The experiences, stories, facilities, information, modes of sharing of those two small and

       medium enterprises (SME‟s) only.




QUESTIONS OF THE STUDY



   In order to achieve the research objectives following questions will be formulated:


   1. Does the knowledge sharing motivate the people to share innovative ideas?

       It has been an established fact that knowledge sharing is an important process and it

       should be analyzed in order to create the collective outcomes within the organization.

       Knowledge sharing experiences motivate people and help them open up to the new

       perspectives and ideas. It can help the people to share and implement innovative ideas

       within organizations.



   2. Does the knowledge sharing have become an advantage for the organizational

       success?
   The knowledge sharing has found to be very beneficial to the organizations for their

   success in long run. The knowledge sharing allows the people and management to

   interact and communicate with each other to share their experiences and ideas which lead

   to the development of strategies and various processes are formed. These processes when

   implemented in the organizations become the key success factors of an organization.



3. What is the role of knowledge sharing in the productivity of Small and Medium
   Enterprises (SME’s)?


   Peter Drucker (1999) emphasized that the most important and unique contribution the

   management has provided in twentieth century was the many fold increase in the

   productivity of the workers in manufacturing. The very crucial contribution required by

   the management is now to increase the productivity of knowledge and knowledge

   workers among them.

   The knowledge sharing allows differentiated productivity model within the organizations

   to get benefited of.




4. What are the advantages of knowledge sharing that benefit the management of
   Small and Medium Enterprises?


   The level of interest in knowledge sharing has been increased from several years. Many
   companies are now appreciating and applying the knowledge sharing to enhance their
   performance and products or services. These benefits may include: globalization and
   competition, command on pricing in the market, restructuring and downsizing, sharing
      the best practices, successful innovation and other benefits like customer retention,
      problem solving techniques and adaptation to the changes, all may result from the
      knowledge sharing within the organizations.




   5. How these advantages can be effectively utilized in the productivity of Small and
      Medium Enterprises (SME’s)?


      Once the knowledge is communicated and stored in the digital database or minds of
      people, then every one can get benefits from those experiences, stories, team associations
      etc. and can be utilized to enhance the productivity of workers and the organizations as a
      whole.




METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDY



Design of the study



   The research design will follow descriptive research methodology. The descriptive research

   design is a scientific method that uses observations and the description of the behaviors of

   the subject without influencing it in any way.



Population



   The population of the study will be comprised of all the Small and Medium Enterprises

   (SME‟s) in Australia.
Sample and Sampling Technique



   The sample of the study will consist of two Small and Medium Enterprises (SME‟s) of

   different industrial background from Australia. In order to carry out the sample out of

   population, Purposive sampling technique will be used. The purposive sampling is used when

   we want to conduct a research with a specific population in mind and the sample is selected

   to include the people of interest and to exclude those who do not match the purpose.




Tools of research



   The research will be conducted through the use of following research tools:



         Case Study Technique

         Social Network Analysis

         Force Field Analysis

         Personal Experiences/ Stories

         Staff Profile Pages

         Systematic Knowledge Process (libraries)




Development of tool



   The research tool will be divided into two main categories:
        Knowledge Sharing Internally

        Knowledge Sharing Externally


Internal Knowledge Sharing


The Internal Knowledge Sharing involves the case study technique, social network analysis,

systematic knowledge process and force field analysis.


External Knowledge Sharing


The external knowledge sharing involves force field analysis, personal experiences and staff

profile pages. The external knowledge sharing also involves systematic knowledge process.


Case Study Technique: the case study approach will be adopted to compare and contrast the

aspects of knowledge sharing in these SMEs.


Personal Experiences/ Stories: the organizational leaders who actively promote and

participate in knowledge sharing will be identified. These leaders will be exchanged with the

leaders of other organization to share their stories and personal experiences.


Social Network Analysis: it involves the comparison between the organization‟s social

networking and between the social lives of individuals. It can be measured via socio-metric

technique which entails the answers like „Who is the most favorite‟


Force Field Analysis: it enables the teams to work on their goals and identify the factors that

hinder and support to achieve their goals. Force Field Analysis is a classic change

management tool developed by Kurt Lewin which empowers the teams to achieve their

goals.
  Systematic Knowledge Process (libraries): this process is supported by specialists in

  information management (librarians) but with close partnership between users and providers

  of information.


  Staff Profile Pages: it involves the digital database of the staff profiles and their effective

  utilization in order to maximize the effective productivity and profitability of an

  organization.




TOOL ADMINISTRATION


  The tool administration involves how the tools will be used to achieve the research

  objectives.



  Case Study Technique will used to compare and contrast the strengths, weaknesses,

  opportunities and threats & fears to the organizations, the participating roles in the

  organization and knowledge sharing facilities will be analyzed.



  Personal Experiences/Stories will involve the selective members of both the Small and

  Medium Enterprises to share and exchange their experiences based on seminars and lectures.

  The more presentable and knowledgeable lectures will get more effective response.



  In Force Field Analysis the hindrances and supporting factors will be jot down for further

  analysis and interpretations
   Staff Profile Pages will involve the data basing of the staff and their experiences, stories etc.

   to find out the important links in knowledge sharing.



   Systematic Knowledge Sharing will involve the libraries and the access to different studies

   based on real time environments.



DATA ANALYSIS



   Statistical techniques will be used for data analysis and on the basis on these inferences will

   be drawn. Following techniques will be used to analyze the data:


      Percentage method

      Mean of the data

      Standard Deviation (S.D) of the gathered data

      Skewness


The percentage method, mean, Standard Deviation and skewness will be used for the data

analysis process. These methods are used in the descriptive analysis of the research and data. The

descriptive statistics provide the basic understanding of the data in a particular study. They help

to find out the basic features and summaries about the sample and its uses. They are used to

explain what is what in the data without intervening in the process.




FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
        The Summary of findings, the conclusions drawn from the findings and

        recommendations will be made on the basis of analysis of data.




LIMITATIONS



        The researcher may incur the following limitations during its research:



       issues in data collection

       little or no cooperation from the SME‟s (sampling issue)

       management‟s failure to cooperate

       Biased experiences of the management

       Failure to accept the researcher‟s proposal to work

       Data may be outdated or of no use to the researcher

       The techniques used by the company to collect and interpret the data may be different

        from the industrial techniques

       The employees or workers may hesitate to provide their information.


       Firm‟s failure to acknowledge the researcher‟s demands of cooperation

       The policies of the firm may collide with the researcher‟s work requirements

       The employees may hesitate to provide their insights

       The data provided by the firm may have limited application or fail to fulfill the

        requirements of the research
TIME TABLE FOR THE PROJECT




  The time line required to conduct and complete this study is given below:



  Literature Review

  Approximately one month will be required to conduct and use the related literature review.



  Tool Development

   On the basis of literature review, 1 month will be required for the tool development



  Data Collection

  3-6 months will be required for the data collection to analyze the changes within the

  company


  Data Analysis, Interpretation and Conclusion


  1-2 months will be required for the data analysis, interpretations and conclusions.
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