In this globalized network society, there is a paradigm shift in education from teacher centric education to learner centric education. It is very important for organizations to 'know what they know' and make maximum use of their knowledge. There are hidden, untapped reservoirs of intelligence that exist in almost every organization. There is a difference in ranking in two universities with identical numbers of faculty, degree programs, expenditures, and enrollment. This difference as Milam (2001) suggests is often intangible value added by effective Knowledge Management (KM). The educational institutions can adhere to business organisations and pursue the implementation of KM for having an edge and serving the stakeholders in a better way. The present study endeavors to develop a knowledge management framework for enhancing Research, Curriculum development and Alumni contributions in the selected Institutions of Higher Technical Education (IHTE) in India. Being the power house of knowledge in our society, IHTE have immense knowledge and research plays an important role. The accurate and up to date knowledge about earlier and ongoing research and other administrative related information can be acquired and stored systematically with the implementation of KM in IHTE.
One of the main aims of any institution of Higher Technical Education (IHTE) is to impart knowledge to the students in the most effective way, meet the needs of the students more efficiently and improve educational outcomes for the students. To remain ahead of competition, even well-established IHTE have to respond to the challenge by offering learners a dynamic and industry oriented curriculum. To achieve this objective, there is a need to facilitate academia with knowledge management (KM) based platform which can help them design innovative, industry oriented, and state-of-art curriculum.
Alumni play an important role for all educational institutions. Their experience can be exploited by having their suggestions and feedback regarding Research, Curriculum Development, career development and placement services. Their valuable feedback needs to be acquired, stored and retrieved efficiently using KM.
As Research, Curriculum Development and Alumni contributions are the three important aspects of any educational institution, the current study has been undertaken to design a KM framework based on these three aspects. The objectives of the present study are:
' To understand and explore the application of KM in Research, Curriculum Development and Alumni Contributions in IHTE.
' To identify and establish the possible linkages amongst Research, Curriculum Development and Alumni Contributions.
' To propose a framework for implementing KM in Higher Educational Institutions to reap the benefits of KM in the above mentioned areas.
3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The present study uses a survey method to collect data on these three aspects viz. Research, Curriculum Development and Alumni Contributions from IHTE. The designations of the targeted respondents in the IHTE were categorized into two groups. The first group consists of management, senior academia that is, Professors, Associate Professors who are also dealing with managerial work and also 'thinkers' are addressed as group A. The second group consists of Assistant Professors, Lecturers and Research Scholars who will be using and also contributing to the KM system and also the 'doers', are addressed as group B.
The survey instrument investigates the features which are obtained from the literature and personal observations or interviews for the inclusion in the knowledge management framework for the institutions of higher technical educational (IHTE). The study also tries to identify the perceived benefits of KM implementation in higher technical education if proposed KM framework is put into practice.
The particular stakeholder analysis helped to analyses the features to be included in KM framework. The designed KM framework covers KM enablers, KM processes, KM aspects of IHTE and perceived benefits of KM. The suggested framework will help in improving the quality of Research and Curriculum Development and will also help to incorporate Alumni feedback. Thus the competitiveness of IHTE can be enhanced by adopting the suggested framework.
4. KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT ENABLERS
Out of the KM enablers from Leadership; Structure, roles and responsibilities; and ICT. ICT got the highest rating, followed by leadership. Earlier researchers have also identified information technology infrastructure as an element crucial to the linkage of information and knowledge integration in organizations (Argyris andSchon, 1978; Duncan, 1972; Teece, 1998). Many researchers (Chong, 2006; Liebowitz, 1999; Civi, 2000; Davenport and Prusak, 1998; Dutta, 1997; Greengard, 1998; Guns &Valikangas, 1998; Moffett et al, 2003; Pemberton et al, 2002; Ryan &Prybutok, 2001; Salleh& Goh, 2002) have insisted that top-management leadership and commitment are the most critical factors for a successful knowledge management project, particularly in knowledge-creating and culture-sharing activities . The results also highlight them as important enablers as leadership got higher priority after Information technology infrastructure. Structure, roles and responsibilities though important has been rated lower on priority by academia of IHTE.
5. KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT PROCESSES
An effort has been made to suggest the steps required for knowledge acquisition, knowledge storage and knowledge dissemination to enhance Research, Curriculum Development and Alumni Contribution in IHTE. Regarding status of KM in IHTE as depicted by results, most institutions are only at initial implementation stage. Thus the suggested framework will help them to focus on the ways to acquire, store and disseminate knowledge in planned ways and thus help in improving the overall performance.
6. KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT ASPECTS IN THE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER TECHNICAL EDUCATION
The three aspects of IHTE-Research, Curriculum Development and Alumni Contributions have been studied in detail. Features to be included in KM framework for Research, Curriculum Development and Alumni Contributions were identified through literature survey. These features were tested through z-test for their inclusion in KM framework. These features were finally shaped into Research, Curriculum Development and Alumni Contributions factors using factor analysis. Further, regression analysis was used to find the relationships and important predictors of perceived benefits.
7. PERCEIVED BENEFITS
By incorporating the factors for Research, Curriculum Development and Alumni Contributions in KM using four processes viz. acquisition, storage, dissemination and utilization, KM benefits can be attained. As suggested by academia the following perceived benefits of Research, Curriculum Development and Alumni Contributions had higher ratings:
i. Reduced turnaround time for research.
ii. Minimized devotion of research resources to administrative tasks.
iii. Facilitation of interdisciplinary research.
iv. Good curriculum will enhance the research.
v. An industry oriented and latest curriculum will produce competent professionals.
vi. Enhanced quality of curriculum and programs by identifying and leveraging best practices and monitoring outcomes.
vii. Alumni can contribute to research e.g. grants, industry oriented research.
viii. With alumni feedback, competent and industry oriented curriculum can be developed.
Thus, the present research is comprehensive as it covers all aspects of Knowledge Management to enhance Research, Curriculum Development and Alumni contributions.
Today, the world economy is experiencing an unprecedented change. New developments in science and technology, media revolution and globalization and the ever-expanding competitive environment are revolutionizing the education scene. A paradigm shift has been noticed in education from 'national education to 'global education', from 'one time education for a few' to 'life-long education for all', from 'teacher-centric education' to 'learner centric education'. These changes make new demands and pose fresh threats to the existingestablished education practices in the country . (Agarwal et al.,2012) Because of interdependence of world economy in recent years, the Indian higher education system has a new role to play and face the challenges to provide to the nation, skilled human power at all levels, having requisite knowledge and confidence to effectively confront the social and economic realities. People like Hansen, Nohria, and Tierney (1999) advocate IT to connect people with reusable codified knowledge. Others think that technology has little to do with KM. Success of KM is related to appropriate culture rather than technology (Dixon, 2000; Stankosky, 2005). However, it is human nature to create and use tools. Thus, it is not wise to deny or ignore technology which shows an aspect of human complexity (Snowden, 2003). As Knowledge Management method is becoming a perfect education development tool for all academic levels (Thitithananon & Klaewthanong, 2007), Institutions of Higher Technical Education can enhance their competitiveness and face the challenges through the suggested KM framework.
The complete view of research is depicted in fig. 6.1, including methodology, validity, enablers of KM, KM processes, KM technologies, aspects of IHTE under consideration, hypotheses and results.
8. CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE STUDY
The contributions of this thesis are listed below:
' Research, Curriculum Development and Alumni Contributions are the pillars of any educational institution. This study is only one of its kinds as it suggests the framework for enhancing Research, Curriculum Development and Alumni Contributions in IHTE in India. Thus, the proposed KM framework will help strengthen the relationship amongst these three, to have sound foundation.
' The study throws light on KM enablers which can provide an environment for successful KM implementation.
' The study helps in analyzing the important KM technologies used for KM by existing IHTE.
' Dimensions used for knowledge acquisition, knowledge storage and knowledge dissemination have been identified by the study.
' The study provides a valuable insight, regarding important features and factors of Research, Curriculum Development and Alumni Contributions.
' The study is a successful attempt in revealing the factors of Research, Curriculum development and Alumni Contributions that require more attention for KM.
' The study also throws light on perceived benefits of KM for Research, Curriculum Development and Alumni Contributions.
9. RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE STUDY
Keeping in view the results obtained from this study and the observations during the interviews with thought leaders, a few suggestions are being made.
Firstly, there is a need to have a KM team with a good visionary leader. They should have clear objectives and strategies to achieve the same and should be able to motivate the stakeholders to contribute to KM.
Academia should be made aware that the whole aim of the KM initiative is to enhance their productivity by making their job easier and not burdening them with additional tasks. This can be done by projecting the perceived benefits of KM. Since the whole KM venture can be successful only if acquired knowledge is disseminated properly and utilized efficiently.KM should be implemented in the technology accepted/ preferred by the academia.
A proper need analysis for KM should be performed. The features of the concerned aspects of IHTE should be identified with the feedback from stakeholders. Before finalizing the features for the inclusion in KM, their perceived benefits should be identified by one to one mapping.
Collaboration tools, such as discussion forums and chats etc. are strongly recommended for the inclusion in KM Framework for the free flow of thoughts and knowledge sharing in IHTE.
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