Original Research

Knowledge management as a change enabler in academic libraries in the digital age

Tiyani T. Mabunda, Tanya Du Plessis
South African Journal of Information Management | Vol 24, No 1 | a1450 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v24i1.1450 | © 2022 Tiyani T. Mabunda, Tanya Du Plessis | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 August 2021 | Published: 22 July 2022

About the author(s)

Tiyani T. Mabunda, Department of Information and Knowledge Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Tanya Du Plessis, Department of Information and Knowledge Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Background: South African academic libraries are facing radical changes due to a paradigm shift in their parent universities associated with the digital age linked to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The rationale for this study was to enable library management, employees and change leaders of libraries to understand that knowledge management (KM) is a potential solution for managing change in academic libraries in this digital age.

Objectives: The central argument of this research is that KM as a management discipline is a solution to manage change in the academic libraries in the digital age. The present research gap is the role of KM as a change enabler in academic libraries. The purpose of this study was to explore the potential of KM as a change enabler in the academic libraries in the digital age.

Method: This study applied the exploratory method to gather more empirical evidence on KM as a potential solution in managing change in the library. Interview and questionnaire were used as data collection methods after purposively selecting the respondents from the population in a non-probability sampling technique. The reliability of the questionnaire was tested that showed a high Cronbach’s alpha score.

Results: Amongst other results, the empirical evidence shows that employees resist change when their comfort zone is threatened; what they know is becoming threatened because the new initiative or change tends not to be aligned with their current knowledge and skills. Lack of knowing what is going to happen after change may lead to resistance; then it proves and validates that KM could be a potential solution.

Conclusion: This study has identified a positive relationship between KM and management of change in the academic libraries. The libraries should ensure that their knowledge gets managed so that it can be easily and timely shared and disseminated to the decision makers during change.


Keywords

knowledge management; academic libraries; change enabler; change management; digital age

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