Knowledge forms in the project lifecycle : a blueprint for knowledge management in small creative agencies in Johannesburg

26 Aug 2021

BACKGROUND : Knowledge-intensive Organisations (KIO) are heavily reliant on the creation, communication and archiving of different forms of knowledge for their survival. Many KIOs that are creative agencies organise their workflows according to projects. Each phase of a project produces distinct forms of knowledge. Understanding the variations in the demands on knowledge management (KM) in step with changes in knowledge forms in different project lifecycle phases allows for the development of appropriate KM. OBJECTIVES : The research set out to use the project lifecycle in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) KIO creative agencies as an organising device for outlining different knowledge forms at each phase. The objective was to map KM forms onto the knowledge forms in each project phase. METHOD : A qualitative research approach with phenomenological research design was used. The empirical site was at eight organisations in Johannesburg, South Africa in the creative industries. The data was analysed using content analysis. RESULTS : There are dramatic changes in knowledge forms at different points in a typical project lifecycle in SME KIO. However, the stages of a project are replicable and consistent between most of the projects that were analysed. CONCLUSION : A strategy for mitigating against knowledge loss in SME KIO creative agencies is to use a range of different KM that are appropriate to the forms of knowledge. Using the project phases as a blueprint can lead to more accurate forms of KM at each distinct stage in the project lifecycle.