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Volume :36 Issue : 1 2008      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

Role and Contribution of Information Professionals toward Knowledge Management Initiatives Comparative Study of the Perceptions A of Kuwaiti and American Managers

Auther : Laila Marouf

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to describe the perceptions of managers in two Kuwaiti companies: Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research (KISR) and Kuwait Oil company (KOC) - concerning KM (Knowledge Management) and the differences between IM (Information Management) and KM. The study further explores what KM initiatives have been undertaken in these two companies. The managers were also asked to identify skills and capabilities that they perceived valuable among information professionals for KM work. This study has repeated a pervious research study that was conducted in 2004 in which six United States (US) companies were covered. It was found worthwhile to compare the findings of the study conducted in Kuwait with the findings of the 2004 study conducted in the US, as this comparison may help in understanding where the information professionals in this region stand vis-ب-vis those in the developed world. This could serve as a useful benchmark for the purpose of planning and conduct of KM projects. Both the studies used survey methods for getting input from the information managers in corporate companies. It was found that a general conceptual understanding prevails about the fundamental concepts of KM and the difference between IM and KM among Kuwaiti managers, a finding they shared with their American counterparts. The American companies were found to be intensely engaged in KM strategies, whereas Kuwaiti companies had just completed their pilot projects with larger initiatives still to be taken. Further, it was found that the information professionals in the American companies played an active role in KM initiatives, whereas the role of information professionals in Kuwait was not as visible. There also existed differences about the needed skills of information professionals for KM roles. Some American managers found LIS skills to be very useful in the KM context, whereas no such appreciation was noted in the Kuwaiti setting.

Key words: Knowledge Management (KM), Information Management (IM), Information professional, Information Center, Information Skills (IS)

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