Original Research

Factors that influence knowledge management systems to improve knowledge transfer in local government: A case study of Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Samuel S. Ncoyini, Liezel Cilliers
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 18 | a1147 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v18i0.1147 | © 2020 Samuel S. Ncoyini, Liezel Cilliers | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 December 2018 | Published: 22 July 2020

About the author(s)

Samuel S. Ncoyini, Department of Information Systems, Faculty of Management and Commerce, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa
Liezel Cilliers, Department of Information Systems, Faculty of Management and Commerce, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa


Orientation: The demand for improved service delivery requires new approaches and attitudes from local governments. The lack of knowledge management (KM) and, therefore, a low level of information and knowledge transfer in the public services were identified as two of the main contributors to poor service delivery.

Research purpose: The purpose of this research study was to gain an in-depth understanding of the factors that impact on KM systems to improve the knowledge transfer at Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (BCMM).

Motivation for the study: A lack of institutional capacity in local government is one of the primary reasons why service delivery is still an issue in almost all of South Africa’s provinces. A Knowledge management system (KMS) would enable BCMM to build up organisational knowledge through the systematic capture and organisation of the wealth of knowledge and experience of staff, stakeholders, clients, partners and beneficiaries. A KMS leverage knowledge that already exists within and outside BCMM and can make this knowledge readily accessible to the Municipality employees.

Research approach/design and method: Qualitative data were collected by means of semi-structured interviews and a convenience sampling technique from five participants. The qualitative interviews were analysed by means of thematic analysis to analyse the data.

Main findings: The study found that the KM culture within the municipality is not supportive as the hierarchical and bureaucratic management supresses any attempts at openness and support. At the human resources level, information is not seamlessly transferred between managers and their subordinates. There seems to be a culture of knowledge hoarding in an attempt to augment personal importance or worth.

Practical/managerial implications: To solve the knowledge transfer problems, KM must be aligned with the organisational strategy. Official KM strategies must be developed and aligned to organisational strategies to ensure that the top management makes and shares a plan for a vision of continuous knowledge transfer.

Contribution/value-add: The study therefore recommends that BCMM must ensure that knowledge transfer practices and initiatives are fully supported and promoted by the top management. This will ensure that sufficient resources are allocated to support knowledge transfer.


knowledge transfer; knowledge management systems; local government; public services; Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality


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Crossref Citations

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