An Evaluation of Mandeni Municpality as a knowledge-based institution as a strategic lever for competitive advantage.
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South African municipalities have a critical role to play in growing the country’s economy. In order to contribute towards eradicating the triple challenge the country is faced with, it is important that they grow their institutional capacity and capability to lever competitive advantage. Therefore, more than ever, they must realize the important role information and knowledge management (KM) plays as a strategic resource to gain competitive advantage. The aim of this exploratory qualitative phenomenological research study was to evaluate Mandeni Municipality (MM) as a knowledge-based institution as a strategic lever for competitive advantage. A non-probability sampling procedure together with a judgmental sampling technique was used to select a sample of five people from the target population that comprised of managerial staff from MM who had knowledge on the subject. Data were collected through in-depth face-to-face interviews with each of the five participants in the sample. An inductive thematic analysis of the data revealed that there were six major themes applicable to MM in becoming a knowledge-based institution. A salient finding of the study was that; although there is a supporting legislative framework in place applicable to MM as a knowledge-based institution, it was not a single source and not user-friendly. The findings also revealed five significant factors applicable to MM being a knowledge-based institution; human resources, information and communication technology, organizational culture, organizational structure; and resources constraints. , Although these factors were in place, they were inefficiently applied and had inadequacies which impacted negatively on its capacity and capability to gain competitive advantage. In addition, it was also recommended amongst others that MM should: persuade the provincial and national departments responsible for local government to consider KM as a specific requirement in their Integrated Development Planning (IDP) Framework; prepare a KM strategy which must form a sector plan in its IDP; use the KM strategy to inform the on-going municipal budgeting process and the annual organizational, departmental and individual performance plans; appoint a dedicated knowledge and information management officer to champion the strategy.