Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

Document Type



Research has shown that private industry has a better grasp on knowledge management concepts and practices than in the higher education arena. Given the internal and external challenges facing colleges and universities, the processes and systems associated with knowledge management could serve as a resource for performance improvement and greater levels of effectiveness and efficiency. This phenomenological study was conducted to determine the perceptions and perspectives of deans regarding the usefulness and value of implementing knowledge management best practices typically employed by organizations in the private sector. Four research questions guided this study: 1) What level of awareness exists of the impact of knowledge management in higher education administration? 2) What methods exist for capturing and sharing knowledge? 3) Can knowledge management strategies practiced in private industry translate successfully in the higher education arena? 4) What elements exist in the administration of higher education that either support or prevent the retention of institutional knowledge? Data was gathered in the form of a series of semi-structured interviews of past or present deans of public RU/VH institutions (Research University with Very High research activity as defined by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education) in the southern portion of the United States. Participants for this study were selected based on their leadership positions in the administration at the selected institution, each were interviewed, in part, to determine their awareness and perception of knowledge management. The following themes surfaced after data analysis was performed: 1) there is a general lack of awareness of the specific term, knowledge management; 2) deans understand the conceptual value of knowledge management and are open to employing its practices in their college, but are resistant to doing so as it relates to their job responsibilities; 3) a cultural misalignment exists between the higher education environment and private industry; 4) the human resource is a highly valued commodity in higher education; 5) knowledge management practices are siloed and limited in scope; and 6) obstacles exist that thwart the growth of knowledge management in higher education. Finally, recommendations, limitations, suggestions for future research, and conclusions are offered to encourage the expansion of this specific topic.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Burnett, Michael