Identification and prioritization of the barriers of knowledge management implementation using fuzzy analytical network process. A case study of the Iranian context

Date08 August 2016
Publication Date08 August 2016
AuthorChangiz Valmohammadi,Ali Ghassemi
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Knowledge management,Knowledge management systems
Identication and prioritization
of the barriers of knowledge
management implementation
using fuzzy analytical
network process
A case study of the Iranian context
Changiz Valmohammadi
Department of Information Technology,
South Tehran Branch-Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran, and
Ali Ghassemi
Islamic Azad University-Alborz Science and Research Branch, Alborz, Iran
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify the barriers of knowledge management (KM)
implementation in Alborz Province industrial Parks Corporation and prioritize them using fuzzy
analytical network process (FANP).
Design/methodology/approach Through an in-depth review of the literature on KM and
researcher ndings from observations and interviews with experts, the main barriers of KM
implementation, namely, organizational culture, organizational structure, human resource, technology
and miscellaneous factors along with their related factors in the surveyed organization were identied.
Then, based on the information gathered, an expert questionnaire was developed. Finally, the priority
of each main barrier and their sub-factors were determined using FANP.
Findings – The results show that human resource and organizational culture factors with the weights
of 0.66 and 0.22, respectively, have the highest ranking and therefore are the most important barriers.
The technology factor with the weight of 0.00002 is the least important barrier in implementing KM in
the surveyed corporation.
Research limitations/implications – One of the limitations of this study is the generalizability of
the ndings, which may be limited by the single case study method used.
Originality/value There are fewer studies about KM barriers specically with a focus on
prioritizing them in organizations, especially in the context of Iran as a developing country. This study
develops a comprehensive and solid mathematical technique to prioritize the identied barriers of KM
implementation in the context of Iran.
Keywords Iran, Barriers, Knowledge management (KM), Case study,
Fuzzy analytical network process (FANP)
Paper type Case study
1. Introduction
Scholars have argued for the relevance of knowledge management (KM) in increasing
organizational effectiveness across industrial sectors in developing and developed
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Received 6 August 2015
Revised 8 April 2016
15 May 2016
Accepted 2 June 2016
VINEJournal of Information and
KnowledgeManagement Systems
Vol.46 No. 3, 2016
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/VJIKMS-08-2015-0046
countries (Jain and Jeppesen, 2013). Iran with a population of more than 70 million and
the gross domestic product of about US$270 bn is the second largest economy in the
Middle East. With a relatively strong economic growth (about 4.8 per cent) and diverse
industries (Valmohammadi and Dashti, 2016). On the other hand Iran as a developing
country during the past couple years has witnessed a growing interest toward KM
implementation. Which as Valmohammadi and Ahmadi (2015) argue could be
attributed to the implementation of deregulation policy by the Iranian government and
the increase of competition among various manufacturing and services organizations.
The importance of KM cannot be neglected in today’s complex and universal
environment. The organizations who know how to effectively achieve, distribute and
manage information would be the leaders of their industry. Currently, organizations are
faced with increasing global competitions and more complex customers; thus, such
organizations have to make innovations in reducing costs, expanding markets and
increase efciency of their processes. Singh and Kant (2008) by literature note KM effort
is no longer merely an option but rather a core necessity for organizations anywhere in
the world, if they have to compete successfully.
Today’s more complex and changing competitive conditions urge organizations to
implement KM to achieve competitive advantages. But, according to Roth‘s research (2003)
40 to 60 per cent of KM projects fail. To date, well-known models such as “Knowledge Spiral”
of Nonaka & Takeuchi, “Building Blocks of Knowledge Management” by Probst & his
colleagues, “Munich Model” presented by Reinemann & Rothmeier do not provide answers
to this extraordinary rate of failure (Roth, 2003).
To successfully implement KM in companies, it is helpful to deal with barriers which
impede the successful implementation of KM. Barriers, which hinder organizations to
implement KM, have been identied from various authors who have researched and
written directly on this issue (Singh and Kant, 2008). The conducted literature review
shows that technical terms are not used uniformly and the importance and inuence of
critical barriers seems manifold. Only scarce authors such as (Singh and Kant, 2008;
Alazmy and Zairy, 2003) dene the evaluation of suspected factors in addition to a
ranking of barriers. However, it seems that for a successful implementation of KM, in
addition to the determination of KM barriers, the identication of the priorities of these
barriers which are correspondent to the context of the surveyed organization could help
the management of organizations to focus and prioritize their resources and efforts
toward removal of these specic barriers. Indeed, failure to identify and remove the
barriers before and during the KM implementation would lead to the failure of KM
Due to the high probability of such failures, organizations should predict forthcoming
conditions by scientic and certain methods to succeed in their KM implementation. Despite
the widespread literature of KM, there are fewer studies about KM barriers in organizations,
especially in this context of Iran as a developing country. Therefore, the main objectives of
this study are to help the top management of the surveyed company to acquaint with the
barriers of successful KM implementation and also determine the importance and priority of
each barrier identied using a robust quantitative approach, i.e. fuzzy analytic network
process (FANP).
Accordingly, to accomplish our objective in this paper, we used a combination of two
separate processes (Matlab & Super Decision) to simplify data analysis. This allows
considering complex interrelationships among decision levels and attributes and helps

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