|dc.description.abstract||Knowledge is one of the critical driving forces for business success. Knowledge
management (KM) and its appropriate implementation help organisations find, select,
organise, distribute and transfer vital business information. The effect of KM on an
organisation’s outcome measures has been widely documented; in particular, its
contribution to the development of innovation culture.
In the construction industry, the need for KM is widely acknowledged, as the demand
for innovation and improved business performance requires effective deployment and
utilisation of project-based knowledge. For construction contracting organisations,
KM is now recognised as a core business concern because intellectual assets have a
vital role to play in improving business effectiveness and creating and gaining
sustainable competitive advantage.
In light of the above, this research study identifies the enabling factors (i.e., enablers)
needed for effective KM implementation in construction contracting organisations. It
reviews and presents the seven most widely reported enablers, and empirically
explores their relative enabling power and dependence in the context of KM being
practised by large construction organisations operating in Hong Kong. The seven
enablers under investigation are 1) leadership, 2) organisational culture, 3) strategies,
4) technology, 5) people, 6) process and activities and 7) innovation.
Initially, a combination of focus groups and the Interpretive Structural Modelling
(ISM) technique was adopted to investigate the interdependence of the enablers and develop and empirically test a conceptual model connecting each uniquely defined
and operationalised enabler to the other six enablers.
The operationalised definitions of the enablers were subsequently used to develop a
structured questionnaire, which was administered to local large construction
contractors. Data were collected on the views of construction professionals on issues
related to each enabler. Based on a total of 120 valid responses, this study employs
structural equation modelling analysis to verify the conceptual model derived using
the ISM technique. The best-fit path model reveals the empirically supported
interrelations among the enablers.
Finally, the best-fit path model was qualitatively validated using a qualitative case
study. A pattern-matching technique was applied to verify the findings and generalise
to actual practices (as reported by five construction organisations), taking into
consideration the local professional expertise of the people involved and the reality of
the context under investigation.
The quantitative and qualitative analyses not only provide a relationship among
various enablers, but determine the extent of the relationship. It is found that the
leadership and technology enablers have the highest and lowest driving power among
all seven enablers, respectively. The leadership enabler, in particular, simultaneously
leads four enablers: organisational culture, strategies, process and activities and
innovation. Many of the hypothesised relationships among enablers proved to be
statistically significant. However, the hypothesised influence of organisational culture
on people was, surprisingly, statistically insignificant. This could be because of the
project-based, transient nature of the industry, where relationships between staff and their respective organisations are more fluid, transient and opaque than in many other
The study highlights the critical role played by leadership in directly and indirectly
(through strategies) influencing organisational culture. In line with previous studies,
this study reveals the need for managerial actions to maintain staff positive attitudes
towards knowledge sharing. This study also sheds light on the relationship between
people and technology, where the latter proved to have the highest level of
dependence on other enablers.
This study enhances our current understanding of the interrelationships among various
KM enablers. This will ultimately provide Hong Kong-based construction contracting
organisations with both focus and direction to steer and control their tangible and
intangible knowledge assets to remain resilient in the face of a fluctuating and highly competitive market and maintain or sustain their performance.||