The role of knowledge management in providing innovative services in university libraries in Nigeria. A structural equation modeling approach

Published date03 September 2018
DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/GKMC-10-2017-0086
Date03 September 2018
Pages350-376
AuthorCyprian Ifeanyi Ugwu,Justina Ngozi Ekere
Subject MatterLibrary & information science,Information behaviour & retrieval,Information in society,Information literacy,Library & information services
The role of knowledge
management in providing
innovative services in university
libraries in Nigeria
A structural equation modeling approach
Cyprian Ifeanyi Ugwu
Department of Information Science, University of South Africa, South Africa, and
Justina Ngozi Ekere
Department of Library and Information Science, University of Nigeria,
Nsukka, Nigeria
Abstract
Purpose Previous studies have shown that knowledge management (KM) plays a role in service
innovation or thatthere is a positive relationship between them. However,this role or relationship is yet to be
established quantitatively through empirical evidence within the context of university libraries in Nigeria.
The purpose of this study is to determine how knowledge management affects innovative services in
universitylibraries in Nigeria.
Design/methodology/approach The study adopted a quantitativeapproach and used questionnaire
to collect data from 250 librarians who participatedin the study. A structural equation modeling approach
was used to validatethe research model.
Findings It was found that KM affected service innovationpositively. The three measures of KM cycle,
namely, knowledge capture/creation, knowledge sharing/transfer and knowledge application/usewere found
to have positive and signicant effect on serviceinnovation in university libraries in Nigeria. In conclusion,
university libraries in Nigeriawith high activities in knowledge capture, knowledge sharing and knowledge
use are more likely to provideinnovative services to their users.
Practical implications The study suggests that libraries with high level of activities in knowledge
capturing, sharingand application are more likely to engage in innovative services. The studyis also capable
of encouraging students to takecourses on KM and library and information science educators to place more
emphasison KM intheir curricular.
Originality/value The paper offers a unique empirical direction for service innovation in university
libraries in Nigeria.As there is a dearth of quantitative empirical evidence in the area of serviceinnovation in
libraries, the empirical evidenceobtained in this paper will not only contribute to the body of knowledge in
this area butalso be used to create an environment for innovative libraryservices.
Keywords Service innovation, Nigeria, Knowledge management cycle, Knowledge management,
Structural equation modeling, University libraries
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
The competitive information environment has created the need for libraries to begin to
engage in innovative services. There are now many information service providers
including internet centers that are competing with university libraries in the business of
GKMC
67,6/7
350
Received31 October 2017
Revised14 April 2018
Accepted30 April 2018
GlobalKnowledge, Memory and
Communication
Vol.67 No. 6/7, 2018
pp. 350-376
© Emerald Publishing Limited
2514-9342
DOI 10.1108/GKMC-10-2017-0086
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/2514-9342.htm
information provision. The search for innovative services has led libraries to begin to
adopt business-oriented approaches. In this direction, total quality management was
considered and applied in libraries for quality and innovative services. Thereafter, it was
felt that treating especially university libraries as learning organizations would bring
about the desired change aimed at innovating library services. Now, both attention and
emphasis have shifted toward knowledge management as a survival strategy for
university libraries facing limited funding and increasing user expectations. The
challenge of increasing expectations of library users is connected with the internet
revolution or information explosion. Knowledge management helps to provide the right
information to the right people at the right time.
University libraries in Nigeria are facing many challenges. Some of the challenges
include coping with changes brought by advances in technology, shrinking budget
allocations and increasing user demands. These challenges are now forcing manyNigerian
university libraries to beginto look beyond their professional boundaries. However, authors
like Islam et al. (2017) have suggested that innovation is the key solution to the challenges
faced by academic libraries in the world today. Further, knowledge is the precondition for
innovative activities in organizations. As innovation is dependent on knowledge, the same
knowledge creates problems for innovation to take hold in organizations. According to Du
Plessis (2007), the amount of knowledge generated in organizations has made the process
of innovation a complex one. This complexity needs to be managed so as to improve
innovation. There are very few studies thathave shown the importance of KM in improving
innovation (Islam et al.,2017;Du Plessis, 2007;Adams and Lamont, 2003;Darroch and
McNaughton, 2002). Innovation in itselfis important to libraries. For instance, to keep pace
with the increasing user demands,libraries need to leverage their strengths and to innovate
to provide more responsive and exible services (Li, 2006). Islam et al. (2017) state that
libraries need to embrace a scenario where knowledge is not just managed in the form of
books and periodicals but created(p. 2). Libraries also need to leverageemployee and user
knowledge along with the emerging technologies (Islam et al., 2015). It is important to note
that knowledge management creates an environment that causes innovation to occur (Du
Plessis, 2007).
However, while there are studies on KM in libraries (Ugwu and Onyancha, 2017;
Sarrafzadeh et al.,2010;Maponya, 2004;Wen, 2005) and on innovation in the context of
libraries (Brundy, 2015;Islam et al., 2015;Ward, 2013;Jantz, 2012;Scupola and Nicolajsen,
2010;Li, 2006), no prior work has quantitatively established the link between KM and
service innovation through empirical research in university libraries in Nigeria. The only
seminal paper in this area was Islam et al.s (2017) paper that sought the responses of 107
academic librarians from 39 countries on the effect of knowledge management on service
innovation in academic libraries obtained through convenience sampling because it was
difcult for the authors to have a sampling frame consisting of academic librarians across
the world. African countries were not mentioned in the study which suggests that a study
that links KM to innovation be conducted within African context as a demonstration of the
reason for the implementation of KM in African libraries. The purpose of this study,
therefore, is to investigate the impact of KM cycle on service innovation in university
libraries in Nigeria.Moreover, this study addressed the following main questions:
Q1. Does KM cycle of knowledge creation/capture, knowledge sharing/transfer and
knowledge application/useimpact service innovation?
Q2. Does KM generally impact serviceinnovation?
Role of
knowledge
management
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