Document Type

Thesis

Publication details

Cheong, KF 2011, 'The roles and values of personal knowledge management', DBA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright KF Cheong 2011

Abstract

The topic of Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) has seen accelerated growth recently although PKM is not new, as our ancestors sought ways to learn better and to improve their knowledge. From the literature, it is clear that an individual plays an important role in organisational learning and knowledge management. However, there has been very little empirical research or significant conceptual development carried out with PKM (Pauleen 2009a), resulting in very few research publications (a search on Sept 13 2009 revealed that Google Scholar had only 1010 counts, ProQuest 28, EBSCO 22 and Emerald only 6) in this particular field of study, demonstrating that PKM is still an under-explored or under-researched area (Pauleen 2009a; Tsui 2002b; Zhang 2009).

In the past decade, several scholars (e.g. Frand and Hixon (1999), Avery et al. (2001) Berman and Annexstein (2003) , Efimova (2005), Wright (2005), Zuber-Skerritt (2005), Agnihotri and Troutt (2009), and Jarche (2010a) ) have developed models to describe PKM. Their models shared the same assumption that PKM is playing important roles in knowledge management and has benefits to both individuals and organisations. However, there is inadequate research investigating what are the roles and values of PKM. This research represents the first global survey to investigate this under-explored area and to unlock our understanding about the roles and values of PKM. There are four research questions answered in this thesis. The first research question is “What are the roles of PKM in the KM Process?”, the second is “What are the values of PKM for individuals and organisations?”, the third is “Is there any correlation between the roles of PKM in KM Processes and the values of PKM for individuals and organisations?” and the last one is “ Is there any correlation between the values of PKM for individuals and the values of PKM for organisations?”

A theoretical model was developed and an online survey was conducted by sending invitations to the members of KM organisations. Altogether 206 KM participants in 44 different countries/locations completed the survey. The collected data was analysed by both exploratory data analysis and confirmatory data analysis. Validity and reliability tests were performed prior to the hypotheses tests that were done by standard regression and structural equation modelling methods.

The research determined that PKM is playing important roles in KM processes and has significant values in both individual competences and organisation competences. The results also showed that there are positive correlations between the roles of PKM in KM processes and the values of PKM for both individuals and organisations. Moreover, positive correlations were also found between the values of PKM for individuals and the values of PKM for organisations.

Towards the end of this study, a PKM 2.0 conceptual model was developed which consists of four key elements, namely personal information management (PIM), personal knowledge internalisation (PKI), personal knowledge creation (PKC) and inter-personal knowledge transferring (IKT). This model sets the foundation for future research and also for applying PKM in the business environment e.g. business process management.

This research has made significant contributions with implications to both theory and practice, in four key areas. Firstly, it provided empirical evidence to support Avery et al (2001)’s PKM Skills Framework. Secondly, it filled the gap in the theory about the roles and values of PKM and provided empirical evidence to support the assumption used by many scholars that PKM is playing important roles in KM and has benefits to both individuals and organisations. Thirdly, an empirical model was developed to describe the Roles and Values of PKM which can be used for future research and the application of PKM in organisations. Finally, it provided further support to the published literature about the importance of individual learning in organisational learning and also supported the concept that PKM is bridging the gap between individual learning and organisational learning.

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