Information technology, knowledge management and human resource management. Investigating mutual interactions towards better organizational performance

Date14 May 2018
Publication Date14 May 2018
AuthorLejla Turulja,Nijaz Bajgoric
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Knowledge management,Knowledge management systems
Information technology,
knowledge management and
human resource management
Investigating mutual interactions towards
better organizational performance
Lejla Turulja and Nijaz Bajgoric
School of Economics and Business, University of Sarajevo,
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Purpose Drawing on dynamic capabilityview, this study aims to offer a conceptual framework to clarify
the nature of the effects of rms information technology (IT) capability, knowledge management (KM)
capability and human resourcemanagement (HRM) capability on organizational business performance.IT is
the driver that changes all aspects of doing business in the digital era, while both knowledge and human
resources (HR) are being increasingly regarded as key levers of competitive advantage in todays global,
dynamic andcomplex business environment.
Design/methodology/approach The survey methodology was used to collect data. To clarify the
relationships betweenIT capability, KM capabilityand organizational business performance, the qualitative
literature review has been conducted. This review has revealed the three structural models presenting
possible interactions between observed constructs. Conrmatory factor analysis has been used for the
evaluation of proposedmeasurement models while structural equation modelinghas been used for structural
modelsassessmentsand hypotheses testing.
Findings IT capability enhances HRM capability which enhances KM capability. As a result, KM
capability together withIT capability enhances organizational business performance.In addition, there is an
interactioneffect of KM capability and HRM capability on business performance.
Research limitations/implications First, the sample is based on the emerging economy rms.
Second, the use of a self-rating performance measure may be a limitation of the study. Third, the data
are not completely normally distributed. Fourth, specicities of different industries were not the
subject of analysis in this paper. This should be considered in the interpretationand understanding
of the results.
Practical implications From managerial point of view, the paperindicates what managers can do to
master their dynamic capabilities,especially those relevant to the business in the digital era. Firmsare urged
to develop and improve their capabilities to face dynamic environment and intense competition, as well as
business globalization.However, to improve certain capability, rms should developothers as well because of
their interconnectedness.
Originality/value The main academic contribution of this study is reected through the
development of the integrative model which is aimed at identifying the interrelationships among IT,
KM, HRM and business performance. The results indicate the importance of observing
interconnections between the rmsvarious capabilities to verify the premise of the dynamic
capability view. This paper identied relationships between most prominent rms resources for the
digital era: knowledge, HR and IT. The results show causes and effects of relationships between
capabilities related to these resources.
Keywords Dynamic capability, SEM, Knowledge management, Information technology,
Human resources management
Paper type Research paper
Received14 June 2017
Revised14 September 2017
16October 2017
Accepted25 October 2017
VINEJournal of Information and
KnowledgeManagement Systems
Vol.48 No. 2, 2018
pp. 255-276
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/VJIKMS-06-2017-0035
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
1. Introduction
A rapidly changing business environment characterized by the globalization and ever-
increasing customersdemandsand competition pursue rms to improve their performance
continually. In such environment, improvements are possible by innovating products and
processes and improving quality, productivity and speed to market (Becker and Gerhart,
1996). Furthermore,it is recognized that tangible assets are not as important for a rm like it
was before considering business performanceand competitiveness. Nowadays, information
technology (IT) andpeople together with their knowledge are most valuablerms assets.
IT is the key driver that reshapes all aspects of doing business in the digital era
(Brynjolfsson and Kahin, 2000), while both knowledgeand human resources (HR) are being
increasingly considered as key enablers of competitive advantage in todays global,
dynamic and complex business environment (Brachos et al.,2007;Oltra, 2005). Human
resources management (HRM) and knowledge management (KM) are considered critical
segments of rms management for achieving competitiveness and superior business
performances. It is clear that modernIT and globalization has been changing business rules
in the twenty-rst century. Knowledge has become the most strategically signicant
resource of a rm because of its heterogeneity and immobility (Chen and Fong, 2013). This
raises very important questions such as whether HRM or KM plays a central role in a rm
regarding learning and knowledge creation and whether HRM or KM contribute more to
business performance? Besides, the mutual causal relationship between these two
capabilities representsan important phenomenon for managers and scholars.
Some scholars are concerned with human capital as holders of the knowledge, while
others deal with the knowledge itself withoutinvolving HR. The third group addressed both
HRM and KM; they argued that a) knowledgeis dependent on people and b) HRM practices
are fundamental for KM in rms (Oltra, 2005).Some of them have tried to explain the role of
HRM in KM (Soliman and Spooner, 2000;Yahya and Goh, 2002), which led to the even
greater interweaving of KM and HRM practices. As a consequence of this reasoning, a
signicant research gap is observed concerningthe empirical conrmation of KM and HRM
delimitation and precise denition of their roles in knowledge creation and their mutual
relationship, especially regarding the widespread use of IT. Most of all, it is necessary to
elucidate whetherKM or HRM contribute more to business performance.
Thus, the objectives of this study are to investigate the possibility of drawing a line
between HRM and KM, to assess which of these two managementsegments contribute more
to business performance and to analyze the relationship between them together with IT, i.e.
to determine where HRM meets KM.In other words, this paper aims to suggesta conceptual
framework that linksHRM, KM, IT and business performance.
2. Theoretical background and literature review
2.1 Dynamic capability view
Why are some companies moresuccessful than others?is the question of interest of many
scholars for decades. One of the dominant theories in this eld is the Resource Based
View”–RBV (Lockett et al., 2009;Barney and Clark, 2007;Lavie, 2006). According to this
theory, the superior rms performancedepends on the resources that rm owns and uses in
its operations. However, because of changes in business environment resulted from several
types of development trends such as those in IT and the globalization of business, recent
studies highlighted the difference between tangible assets, i.e. physical capital and
intangible assets such as organizational routines and capabilities. Thus, Teece et al. (1997)
noted that only those rms thathave abilities to effectively coordinate and redeploy internal
and external competencies and resources to timely respond to changes in the business

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