Packaging and unpackaging knowledge in mass higher education—a knowledge management perspective
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The progressive deployment of market-oriented regulatory frameworks in mass Higher Education Institutions (MHEI hereafter) triggered, in a wide variety of forms and degrees, the application of Knowledge Management principles in MHEI. This means the application of the knowledge 'codification strategy', where the focus is on the economies of the re-use of centrally developed knowledge through codifying, storing and distributing knowledge. This process however, presents significant challenges. Both knowledge and non-knowledge related aspects might constrain the application of knowledge codification strategies in MHEI. The aim of this paper is to better understand the application of knowledge codification strategies in MHEI, from a knowledge management perspective. This is done by examining the use of course outlines as the critical means to 'transfer' codified knowledge. The research site was a MHEI that explicitly followed a 'codification strategy', where the profits come from the economies of scale and low cost operation. Research findings point out mixed outcomes. The set of cost-saving managerial-oriented initiatives together with the deployment of knowledge codification strategies simultaneously supported the knowledge transfer of codified-oriented courses associated to low levels of tacit knowledge and constrained knowledge transfer of codified-oriented courses associated with slightly higher levels of tacit knowledge. This finding can be credited to a set of both knowledge and non-knowledge related issues. The implications for the management of knowledge in MHEI were explored.
Copyright 2010 Springer Netherlands. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com
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