Knowledge sharing and distribution in an open system : a case study of the Eastern Cape Estuaries Management Programme.
Knowledge management is largely a social process. It is more about the community‘s understanding, skills and values in relation to their practices than technology. Knowledge is generated and shared through social interaction of people. Exploring the community‘s acts of communication and interaction can help to understand the knowledge they have as well as the knowledge gaps that are apparent. It can also aid in discovering ways in which their practices are shaped and constrained by the knowledge they have. The purpose of this study was to determine the optimal means of knowledge sharing and knowledge distribution in an open system using the Eastern Cape Tyolomnqa Estuary as a case study. Different scholars stated in their different works that sharing knowledge is problematic in most organizations, whether they are formal or informal organizations. There are several reasons that have been identified as to why people do not want to share their knowledge. To achieve the objectives of this study, both secondary and primary sources of data were used. This included literature from various sources, such as books, journal articles and information from the Internet that has been reviewed and analyzed. Interviews and focus groups were used to collect data. Interviews were conducted with 16 people who were purposively selected from the Buffalo City Council, Tyolomnqa Conservancy, Tyolomnqa Estates, Tyolomnqa Forum, and Phozi, Ncera, Sandile and Xhama communities. The key informants were people with management positions, and community leaders. The interviews were unstructured. After collecting data by means of face-to-face interviews focus groups, workshops were convened with the Tyolomnqa Forum, and Phozi, Ncera, Sandile and Xhama communities. The self-administered questionnaire was additionally used as a data collection technique for researchers. Data were analyzed through content analysis and the use of SPSS, and presented in the form of tables and figures. It was identified that their knowledge sharing was fragmented and there was no formal organisational structure to bring communities along the Tyolomnqa Estuary to work together as one would do in bureaucratic organizations like companies. The Tyolomnqa Estuary Forum, which has vested interests in estuary management, could be used as model to provide the organisational infrastructure to facilitate the acquisition and sharing of knowledge on the management of estuaries. It is envisaged that such forums can be a viable mechanism of facilitating the harnessing and sharing of knowledge on the sustainable use of estuaries at the local level.
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