The relationship between knowledge management culture and the performance of knowledge management in the Singapore Police Force : a critical realist approach
Knowledge plays a vital role in policing, as the ability to manage knowledge effectively and efficiently has been recognised to contribute positively to the likelihood of mission success (Tan & Al-Hawamdeh, 2001:318). However, the research on knowledge management (KM) in policing is limited as policing is a niche area, and information is tightly controlled. This research aims to explore the KM culture in the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and its relationship, if any, to the performance of KM in the organisation. A critical realist approach is adopted to examine the perceptions of research participants, as they experience the KM activities and practices occurring in the organisation. Data is collected from conducting twenty-two semi-structured interviews and the review of knowledge-related documents and analysed using thematic analysis. The findings indicate that the KM culture, which is in the developmental stage, has resulted in a lack of consistency in the KM practices. Nonetheless, the strong receptivity and sense of personal responsibility towards the practice of KM has the potential to be the catalyst to improve the KM performance in the organisation. In terms of human resource management practices, the results show that the regular staff movements (in terms of job rotations) and sudden staff departures could intersect with the inconsistent practices and result in knowledge loss. The findings also suggest that the frequency and duration of job rotations are factors that may affect the attitude towards the practice of KM. Ample time is needed for knowledge to be transferred and internalised to overcome knowledge loss because of staff movements. These occurrences, if not managed, will lead to the loss of institutional knowledge, both explicit and tacit. For knowledge collaboration, the results outline the discrepancy between the perceived willingness and the actual practice of knowledge sharing with the external stakeholders; the unfamiliarity of the existing KM framework to manage the accessibility of confidential documents has resulted in the limited success of such external collaborations. The management plays a vital role to drive the KM culture by creating the supportive workplace culture, to integrate the KM framework with the work processes and implement the appropriate technological measures. Technology has been identified as an enabler in the practice of KM and plays a pivotal role in the performance of KM in the organisation. The findings may be of interest to human resource management practitioners, researchers with an interest in KM in the public sector and public officers serving in law enforcement or similar fields.