Knowledge retention at the Natural Resources Development College: An investigation of current practices

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Malekano, Phales
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University of Zambia
This study investigated knowledge retention strategies and practices at the Natural Resources Development College (NRDC). Specifically, the study sought to establish the extent to which knowledge is being retained; identify tools and methods used for knowledge retention; identify the strategies for knowledge retention and establish the challenges of knowledge retention strategies and practices. A Case Study methodology was adopted. A total sample of 102 persons were included in the study sample. Of these, eighty six (86) members of staff were randomly selected. Eighty six (86) questionnaires were distributed and out of these 70 were completed and returned. Sixteen people were interviewed. Data was collected through self administered questionnaires and interview guides. Survey data was evaluated and analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) whilst qualitative data was analysed thematically. The study established that explicit knowledge was largely retained by staff at NRDC compared to tacit (tacit) knowledge. Paper records and computers were the major tools used for knowledge retention. Major methods used to retain organisational knowledge were documentation and mentoring of new employees. Common knowledge retention strategy was to replace the departing employees, regularly with qualified persons. The study also reveals that NRDC was collaborating with other institutions of higher learning in knowledge management practices through joint research projects and seminars/workshops. Major challenges of knowledge retention at NRDC were retirements, transfers, deaths, secondments and resignations. Additionaly, NRDC largely produced and retained explicit knowledge compared to tacit knowledge in the form of modules, lecture notes and syllabuses. Furthermore, knowledge retention strategies and practices were present and that tacit knowledge should be retained and stored in form institutional repositories. The college should develop a knowledge retention policy in order to improve the quality of knowledge retention strategies and practices; identify mitigation strategies to address the challenges of knowledge retention such as communities of practice, mentoring programmes, improved internal networks and documentation of work processes and; improve the levels of cooperation with other institutions of higher learning. Further research is needed on knowledge retention strategies and practices in colleges in Zambia.
Knowledge Management-Zambia , Human Capital-Management