Processes and Benefits
Kamla Ali Al-Busaidi
Information Systems Department, Sultan Qaboos University, P.O.Box: 20 , PC: 123, Al-Khod, Oman
Keywords: Knowledge Management, KM Processes, KM Benefits, Corporate Portal, Oman.
Abstract: This pilot study examines a corporate portal from a knowledge management perspective by identifying the
impacts of several corporate portal tools that support organizational knowledge management processes
(such as acquisition, conversion, application and protection) on organizational processes (such as efficiency,
effectiveness and innovation) and people (such as learning, adaptability and satisfaction). Preliminary
analysis based on academic staff utilization of a corporate portal in a local university in Oman shows that
providing tools through corporate portals that support knowledge conversion improves the effectiveness and
efficiency of the organizational processes and people's learning, whereas providing tools that support
knowledge applications improves the effectiveness of organizational processes as well as people learning,
adaptability and satisfaction. Thus, the analysis indicates that knowledge conversion impacts organizational
processes more than people, whereas the knowledge application impacts people more than organizational
processes. Offering tools that support knowledge protection also improves the effectiveness of
organizational processes. However, the preliminary analysis shows that knowledge acquisition process has
no impact on organizational processes or people.
Deploying IT tools that facilitate knowledge
management and sharing are essential for the
development of a knowledge-based economy.
Several international reports highlighted the
importance of IT tools to improve the effectiveness
and efficiency of the nations and organizations
efforts to manage their knowledge, and build their
human resources (World Bank, 2003).
Portals are one of the IT tools that provide a
common gateway into multiple distributed
repositories. Portals provide an efficient access to
relevant and accurate information and knowledge
(Rainer et al, 2007). There are several types of
portals such as commercial portals, corporate
portals, affinity portals, industry-wide portals,
mobile portals etc (Rainer et al., 2007). A corporate
portal is a gateway into the organization’s
knowledge resources. Corporate portals improve
employees' productivity by improving corporate
information access (Aneja et al., 2000). As a
knowledge management tool, corporate portals
should provide tools that effectively support several
knowledge management processes (Benbya et al.,
2004). Corporate portal provides a single web-based
entry to corporate information and knowledge
located inside and outside the organization. Based
on Aneja et al. (2000), a corporate portal includes
internal and external information resources. Internal
information resources include internal websites,
collaboration products, documents, organizational
knowledge bases, and data warehouses; whereas,
external information resources may include external
websites, external content, news and news feeds, and
external services.
The objective of the study is to examine how
corporate portal supports organizational knowledge
management by providing tools that support
knowledge acquisition, knowledge conversion,
knowledge application and knowledge protection ,
and how the support of each of these KM
processes(as identified by Gold et al(2001) results in
organizational processes benefits and people benefits
(as categorized by Becerra-Fernandez(2004) ).
Three are number of studies that empirically
investigated the effects of organizational KM
process on organizational effectiveness such as those
Ali Al-Busaidi K. (2009).
In Proceedings of the International Conference on Knowledge Management and Information Sharing, pages 69-74
DOI: 10.5220/0002308900690074
of Gold et al (2001), Liu (2003). Also, a couple of
studies in developing countries such as Kuwait (Al-
Athari and Zairi, 2001) and Malaysia (Chong, 2006;
Syed-Ikhsan, and Rowl 2004) examined successful
KMS deployment. However, there are limited
studies that are focused on KMS users (Kankanhalli
and Tan, 2004) and clear measurements of KMS
users’ satisfaction are still not well established (Ong
and Lai, 2005). Based on my knowledge, there are
limited studies that investigated the specific benefits
that result from each of the KM processes
2.1 Knowledge Management Processes
Knowledge management systems are systems that
manage knowledge throughout the organization;
they are developed to assist individuals and
organization to store, retrieve, and transfer and
distribute knowledge thought the organization.
Structured or unstructured explicit knowledge from
internal or external sources can be stored in an
Organizational KMS (Davenport and Prusak, 1998;
Turban et al., 2001).
Knowledge management is the management of
organizational knowledge. Knowledge management
processes have been classified in the literature in
several dimensions, which are more or less the same.
Gold et al (2001) indicated that organizational
knowledge management capability is measured by
providing tools and mechanisms that support four
major knowledge management processes:
knowledge acquisition, knowledge conversion,
knowledge application and knowledge protection.
Davenport and Prusak (1998) classified KM
processes as knowledge generation, knowledge
codification and knowledge utilization; Alavi and
Leidner (2001) classified KM processes as
knowledge creation, knowledge codification/storage,
knowledge transfer, knowledge application, while
Becerra-Fernandez and colleagues (2004) classified
them as knowledge discovery, knowledge capture,
knowledge sharing and knowledge application.
Several other frameworks of KM processes were
summarized by Benbya and his colleagues (2004).
2.2 Knowledge Management Benefits
The literature indicated that the use of KMS resulted
in several individual and organizational benefits.
Becerra-Fernandez et al. (2004) categorized
knowledge management benefits as people benefits
(learning, satisfaction, adaptability), organizational
process benefits (efficiency, effectiveness, and
innovation), products benefits (value-added products
and knowledge-based products and organizational
benefits (direct impacts such as return on investment
and indirect impacts such as economies of scale and
scope and sustainable competitive advantage).
Alavi and Lidner(1999) found that the perceived
benefits of KMS can be categorized as process
outcomes and organization outcomes. Process
outcomes include communication (enhanced
communication, faster communication, more visible
opinions of staff and increased staff participation);
and efficiency (reduced problem solving time,
shortening proposal times faster results, faster
delivery to market, and greater overall efficiency ).
Organization outcomes include Financial (increased
sales, decreased cost and higher profitability);
marketing(better service, customer focus , targeted
marketing, proactive marketing) ; and general
(consistent proposals to multinational clients ,
improved project management and Personnel
Based on Herzberg’s two factors theory,
Hendriks argued that individuals share knowledge
because of motivation factors rather than hygiene
factors (Hendriks, 1999). Motivation factors are
related to achievement, responsibility, recognition,
work-challenge, and operational autonomy.
Hygiene factors are salary, bonuses and penalties.
KMS also improves individuals’ performance and
productivity in terms of time and speed of the
knowledge sharing process (Maier, 2002). These
benefits may be classified as tangible, intangible and
3.1 Framework Development
The objective of this pilot study is (1) to examine the
role of a corporate portal as a knowledge
management tool and (2) to explore the benefits that
might be resulted of each of the knowledge
management processes in the context of corporate
portal. This study adopted Gold et al (2001) KM
processes of knowledge acquisition, knowledge
conversion, knowledge application and knowledge
protection, as it has been highly tested in the IS
research, and it is more comprehensive than other
classification. As for the benefits, the study adopted
the Becerra-Fernandez and his colleagues' (2004)
benefits classification of organizational processes
KMIS 2009 - International Conference on Knowledge Management and Information Sharing
(efficiency, effectiveness, and innovation) and
people (learning, adaptability and satisfaction).
3.2 Knowledge Management Processes
3.2.1 Knowledge Acquisition
Knowledge acquisition process is the process or
obtaining knowledge from internal and external
sources. Gold et al (2001) indicated that several
terms are used to describe this process such as
acquire, seek, generate, create, capture and
collaborate, and all these terms referred to
knowledge accumulation. Providing tools for
knowledge generation and acquisition is important
for the deployment of KMS as it creates an
organizational knowledge repository for future
organizational reuse. Knowledge capture and
acquisition is essential for the establishment of
organisational memory (Davenport and Prusak,
1998; Becerra-Fernandez and colleagues, 2004).
3.2.2 Knowledge Conversion
Knowledge conversion process is the process of
making existing knowledge useful; it is the process
of organizing, integrating, and combining,
structuring, coordinating and distributing knowledge
(Gold et al, 2000). This KM process is critical
because it standardizes organizational knowledge
and make consistent and useful for utilization. It set
the stage for a successful knowledge application.
This will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of
the organizational knowledge.
3.2.3 Knowledge Application
Knowledge application is the process of actually
using the knowledge to solve problem and make
decisions. It includes the retrieval and application of
knowledge. The main benefit of knowledge
utilization and application for individuals is
individual productivity, which is indicated by
improvement on individuals’ decision-making and
innovation capabilities (Davenport and Prusak,
1998; Liu, 2003). More specifically, productivity
improvement means that individuals will improve
their judgments and skills, which will help them,
make better decisions and accomplish their work
more efficiently. Knowledge application helped
companies improve their efficiency and reduce costs
(Davenport and Klahr, 1998).
3.2.4 Knowledge Protection
Knowledge protection process is related to the
protection of the organization knowledge from
illegal or inappropriate use. Protecting
organizational knowledge provides a competitive
advantage (Gold et al, 2001). For achieving
competitive advantage through organizational
knowledge, knowledge should be rare and inimitable
(Barney, 1999) Securing organizational information
is improving organizational efficiency and
effectiveness, and its information quality(Turban et
al, 2008).
4.1 Sample
This pilot investigation includes only 25 participants
which are academic staff in a public university in
Oman who are the user of the corporate portal. The
medium of instruction in this university is English.
Based on the IT department, the objective of the
university portal came from the need to have
consolidated e-services for three types of users,
students, faculty members, and other staff. The
university portal is a dynamic web-based electronic
gateway on SQU internal and external data
resources. Information displayed is personalized,
and designed to serve particular sectors of the
campus community, that is different types of users.
Pages accessed through the standard access
authorization (username and password) issued to the
university students, faculty, technical and
administrative staff. Each type of user accesses the
information and resources that he/she authorized to
The university portal has many features; some of
these significant features are: Content management,
resources aggregation, searching and indexing,
personalization, single sign-in and bi-lingual
(English and Arabic interface and content).
About 80% of the participants were male, and all
the participants have above average computer skills.
About 48% had at least two years of portal-use
experience, and only 16%of them had less than one
year portal-use experience. The majority of the
participants, 68%%, were PhD holders; while 28%
of them were MSc holders and 4% of them were
BSc holders. About 24% of the participants were
group lecturers, 44% were assistant professor, 24%
associate professors and 8% were full professors
only 20% of participants with less than 2 years work
4.2 Questionnaire
The questionnaire contained the constructs to be
measured for quantitative analysis, along with
demographic questions (e.g., gender, age, degree,
portal usage experience, work experience, and job
title). Construct measurements items were phrased
according to a 5–point Likert scale (strongly
disagree to strongly agree).
To test this study’s theoretical model, the
questionnaire had 34 indicators that formed the
independent and dependent constructs (see Table 1).
Constructs related to knowledge management
processes was adopted based on Gold et al (2008),
while the benefits were self- developed based on
Becerra-Fernandez et al. (2004). Check the
Appendix for the measurements. The study was
conducted in English (the typical medium of
business activities in Oman).
5.1 Analysis Methodology
Data was analyzed by the SPSS 16. Preliminary
analysis of this pilot investigation was based on the
reliability, correlations and other standard statistical
measures (such as means, maximums and
minimums). Multi-variant analysis and hypothesis
testing was not conducted due to the small sample
5.2 Constructs Reliability
The reliabilities of the measurements were evaluated
through internal consistency reliability, the
recommended level for internal consistency
reliability is at least 0.70 (Chin, 1998). Despite the
small sample size, this preliminary investigation
found that the reliability of the study constructs were
high. Table 1 shows that the study constructs’
reliability were all above 0.7 except for the
knowledge acquisition, which is 0.623 (almost close
to 7).
The mean values of the constructs shows that
the corporate portal provides average tools for
knowledge acquisition, conversion and application,
and above average for knowledge protection. The
means also illustrates that the participants gave
above average (greater than 3) for organizational
processes benefits of effectiveness and efficiency,
but below average for innovation. The participants
also gave above average (greater than 3) for people
benefits of satisfaction, learning and adaptability.
Table 1: Constructs Reliability.
Construct Total items Reliability Mean
Acquisition 3 0.62 2.82
Conversion 6 0.84 2.882
Application 6 0.80 2.89
Protection 4 0.92 3.24
Effectiveness 2 0.94 3.33
Efficiency 3 0.92 3.43
Innovation 2 0.93 2.50
Adaptability 2 0.77 3.06
Learning 3 0.91 3.06
Satisfaction 2 0.88 3.23
5.3 Correlations
Table 2 shows that the preliminary correlations
analysis indicates that offering tools that support
knowledge conversion through corporate portals is
significantly correlated with the efficiency of
organizational processes (a correlation of 0.599 and
a significance level of 0.01) and the effectiveness
of organizational processes (0.591; 0.01), and
employees' learning(0.412; 0.05). Table 2 also
shows that providing tools for knowledge
application significantly correlated with the
effectiveness of organizational processes (a
correlation of 0.538 and a significance level of 0.01),
employees' learning (0
.623; 0.01), employees'
adaptability (0
0.05 and employees' job
satisfaction (0.454; 0.05). In addition, providing tools
for knowledge protection only significantly
correlated with the effectiveness of organizational
processes (a correlation of 0
.461, and a significance
level of 0.05) However, the correlations table shows
that offering tools through the knowledge portals for
knowledge acquisition have no significant
correlations with any of the organizational processes
benefits or people benefits.
KMIS 2009 - International Conference on Knowledge Management and Information Sharing
Table 2: Constructs Correlations.
effectiveness efficiency Innovation Learning Adaptability Satisfaction
.173 .183 .375 .343 .180 .170
.246 .412
.142 .341
.391 .281 .623
.392 .096 .219 .019 .244
**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
*. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-
The objective of this pilot study was to identify the
organizational processes benefits (efficiency,
effectiveness and innovation) and the people
benefits (learning, adaptability and satisfaction) that
might result from offering tools that support
knowledge management processes (acquisition,
conversion, application and protection) in the
context of corporate portal.
Preliminary analysis based on 25 participants
showed that providing tools through the corporate
portals that support knowledge conversion impacted
effectiveness and efficiency of organisational
processes, whereas providing tools that support
knowledge applications resulted in process benefits
(effectiveness) as well as people benefits(learning,
adaptability and satisfaction). Thus, the analysis
indicated that knowledge conversion impacted
organizational processes more than people, whereas
knowledge application impacted people more than
organizational processes. Offering tools that support
knowledge protection also impacted organizational
processes effectiveness. The preliminary analysis
showed that knowledge acquisition had no impact on
organizational processes or people. This could be
traced to the low construct reliability.
Despite the small sample size, this pilot study
provided practitioners and researchers with reliable
measures that can be used to examine knowledge
management processes and also reliable measures to
examine the impacts of knowledge management
tools on organizational processes and people.
Preliminary analysis also provided some insights for
practitioners and researchers on knowledge
management impacts. Future research may include
larger sample size to conduct hypotheses testing and
advanced regression analysis. Future research also
may extend the measurements of the benefits to
include products impacts and organizational
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Knowledge Acquisition Tools : Corporate portal has tools for:
1.generating new knowledge(info) from existing knowledge
2. identifying best practices
3. acquiring new knowledge(information) from external sources
Knowledge Conversion Tools: Corporate portal has tools for :
1.transferring organizational knowledge(info) to individuals
2.distributing knowledge(information)throughout the organization
3.absorbing knowledge(info) from individuals into the organization
4.integrating different sources and types of knowledge(info)
5. converting competitive intelligence into plans of action
6. filtering knowledge(information)
Knowledge Application Tools: Corporate portal has tools for :
1.applying knowledge(information) learned from experiences
2. using knowledge(information) to solve new problems
3.locating and applying knowledge(information) to critical
competitive needs
4. taking advantage of new knowledge(information)
5. matching sources of knowledge(information) to problems and
6. making knowledge(info) accessible to those who needs it
Knowledge Protection Tools: Corporate portal has tools for :
1.protecting knowledge(information) from inappropriate use inside
the organization
2. protecting knowledge(information) from inappropriate use outside
the organization
3. restricting access to some sources of knowledge(information)
4.clearly communicating the importance of protecting
Processes Benefits: The use of corporate portal :
1. improves the effectiveness of my work
2. improves the quality of my work
3. improves the efficiency of my work
4. helps me complete my work quickly
5. helps me complete my work at lower cost
5. improves my creativity at work
6. Improves my innovation at work
People Benefits: The use of corporate portal :
1. improves my learning process
2. enhances my personal knowledge
3. enhances my adaptability level at work
4. helps me adapt quickly to new tasks
5. helps me be responsive to new job demands
6. enhances my job satisfaction
7. makes me more satisfied with my job
KMIS 2009 - International Conference on Knowledge Management and Information Sharing