Purpose - The purpose of the paper is to discover/explore independent variables contributing in perception building that lead to acceptance and finally adoption of relevant retail technology. Moreover, the real aspiration is to propose technological acceptance framework based on independent variables those may contribute to build positive attitudes and behaviors and leads to actual utilization of real technology.
Design/methodology/approach - This research project is ex-post facto (exploratory) by nature and carried out with well structured questionnaire by means of survey in retail industry of Pakistan. Based on preliminary investigation, retail industry of Pakistan were classified into many groups which were; food/bakeries, health/pharmacies, chemical/paint sellers, automotive dealers, banks, education/book and stationary sellers, hotels, footwear, garment sellers, sport and accessories sellers, electronics/electrical sellers, furniture/furnishing sellers, jewelers and other mixed stores. Data were collected in two phases and analyzed through descriptive (mean analysis) measures.
Findings - Out of ten independent variables assumed as contributors to build positive attitudes and behaviors to accept and adopt technology in retail industry of Pakistan, only four variables i.e. operational ease, functional ease, customer satisfaction and data privacy/security have been perceived positively by all the retail classification, while, remaining variables i.e. complexity, stressfulness, manufacturer satisfaction, processing time, defective & out of specification, and perceived benefits compare to cost of technology perceived differently as per retail classification.
Practical implication - This paper recommend extensive training and awareness programs etc with the objective to shape behaviors & attitudes that may lead to acceptance and adoption of relevant retail technology. Paper also highlights the role of technology producer/manufacturer & distributor/sellers and software firms to actively participate in the formation of positive attitudes and behaviors.
Originality/value - This study testify variables i.e. operational ease, functional ease, customer satisfaction, data privacy/security, complexity, stressfulness, manufacturer satisfaction, processing time, defective & out of specification, and perceived benefits compare to cost of technology; contribute in the formation of attitudes and behaviors which leads to technological acceptance and finally adoption with supporting empirical evidence from retail industry of Pakistan.
Keywords - Retail technology, Attitudes and behaviors, Technology Acceptance Framework.
Research type - Research paper (Empirical Investigation).
Today, business organizations are using 'knowledge' as power over others to acquire better understanding and to formulate competitive strategies, which in result serves as strategic tool (Nonaka 1995; Ducker 1994; Zack 1999). Knowledge can be classified as explicit and tacit, which is being used to get know-how and this know-how helps organizations to boost their performance (Milton 2002). Ford (2001, p.33) has defined explicit knowledge as "knowledge that can be easily coded" (e.g., documented, identified, and articulated), while, tacit knowledge defined as "knowledge that is extremely difficult to code" (e.g., identified, articulated and documented). Today, main challenge for any organization is to produce skills that must facilitate the adoption and application of knowledge management process (Hart 2004).
Muhammad and Hayati (2006) explained that every organization contain two types of assets, tangible and/or intangible assets. The key to success for any organization is to convert their intangible assets to tangible assets that can be initiated through a process known as "knowledge management or business intelligence". According to Lyons (2000) knowledge management refers to "the process through which organization create, gather, organize, share and analyze its knowledge in terms of resources, documents and people skills" (as cited in Muhammad and Hayati 2006; p.2). Organizations are striving to create a 'culture' that may facilitate knowledge management process and help to preserve knowledge and experience of their employees so that it can be utilize in future (Dfouni and Croteau 2004, Goh, Ryan et al. 2006). Benefits of knowledge management culture will occur at both individual level and organizational level and such culture will help organization to make faster decisions, empowerment and better learning (Milton 2002; p.1).
Academicians and practitioners have presented number of theories, models and case studies focused on the relationship between knowledge management and culture. These studies have described organizational culture in various ways (Ladd and Ward 2002). According to Schein (1999) organizational culture is defined as "the way we do things around" (as cited in Usoro and Kuofie 2006; p.17). Organizational culture set the rules, assumptions, values, norms, beliefs, and the way of doing things that will help organization to create, gather, organize, share and analyze its knowledge in terms of resources, documents and people skills. Organizational culture can be accessed by focusing on organizational task, structure, technology and people (Hurley and Green 2005). It is the organizational culture that guides members of the organization how to manage their knowledge effectively (Davel and Snyman 2007), however, organizational culture itself is the single largest hurdle toward successful implementation of knowledge management process (Mason and Pauleen 2003). Therefore, this research was initiated in banking industry of Pakistan to understand the role of organizational culture in the adoption and implementation of knowledge management process.
Nemours practitioners have presented heterogenous theories, models and case studies explaining relationship between knowledge management and culture. Long (1997) has accessed organizational culture from behavioural (norms and practices) perspective and conclude that organizational knowledge and culture are closely allied. Moreover, presented a framework related to knowledge management that focuses on three major elements included are a) work processes, b) technology, and c) culture. He recommended four ways in which organizational culture impact behaviors central to knowledge management. 1) Culture and specifically subcultures outline our assumptions about what knowledge is 2) Culture conciliates the relationships between individual and organization-level knowledge. 3) Culture formulates the frame of reference for social interaction and 4) Culture silhouettes the procedures by which new organizational knowledge is taken, legitimated, and diffused.
Goh, Ryan et al. (2006) have identified factors inducing are; collaboration, mutual trust, learning, kiasu-ism, leadership and use of incentives or rewards, which have significant impact on the level of knowledge management practices. Muhammad and Hayati (2006) used case study approach to access the validity of research model known as "Banking Knowledge Management Model" (BKMM) in the banking sector. The model identifies impact of environment, people and technology on knowledge management processes. Moreover, they have acknowledged various organizational culture related factors i.e. communication, reward systems, leadership, use of knowledge experts, group problem solving, sharing of new ideas and lack of training that can either facilitate or hinder knowledge management. Usoro and Kuofie (2006) have presented a model that classifies culture into two main streams a) organizational culture and b) societal culture. In order to measure the organizational culture two different approaches named value based approach and work practices approach along with various culture factors i.e. trust, free information sharing and positive working relationship can positively contribute in knowledge management. Van den Berg and Wilderom (2004) have further explained work practices based approach, which include five dimensions, i.e. a) autonomy, b) inter-departmental coordination, c) external orientation, d) human resource orientation and e) improvement orientation.
Flynn (2004) stated that successful organizations are those who own up and intrigue their existing intellectual assets as well as devise new knowledge inside the organization. To be successful, an organization's must address affairs related to culture, strategy, policy, and practice. Flynn (2004) presented a knowledge management model and used the organization culture audit approach to identify those barriers that can hinder knowledge management process. Organizational culture related barriers to knowledge management identified by the author are, unwillingness to share knowledge, fear of knowledge sharing (job security), mistakes are not tolerated, too little time to share knowledge, no use of appropriate technology, information overload, command and control culture. Gumus and Hamarat (2004) administered a survey on knowledge processes, culture, technological and socio-cultural affairs in the organization. According to Nonaka and Konno (1998) organization's cultural factors that are required for efficacious knowledge management are empowerment, leadership support and motivation. Moreover, human resource kindred factors that were singled out are, IT training, teamwork, communication, education, orientation and voluntary participation.
Chen and Mohamed (2008) presented a theoretical framework on the business environment and tried to access the impact of organizational environment and technical environment on knowledge management from strategic perspective. Every organization consists of internal business environment and this internal environment can help organizations to adopt and implement knowledge management process. Knowledge management requires trust and collaboration. The outcome of the study exhibited that both organizational environment and technical environment can impact organization knowledge management purists; however, it is the organizational environment that has greater repercussions for knowledge management practices. Choi (2004) attempted to scrutinize the knowledge supportive human resource (HR) factors that can influence the success of knowledge management. Results proved that top management support is a decisive factor for knowledge management success. Factors that were accessed and conceived to be compulsory for the success of the knowledge management are training, employee involvement, teamwork and collaboration, employee empowerment and leadership. The results of a study reveal that leadership performs a more consequential role toward human resources supportive environment.
According to Iftikhar et al. (2003), to measure the success or failure of knowledge management some sort of valuation process has to be matured. To review the success of knowledge management in the organization, theyadvised four factors, a) organizational environment, b) technical and managerial support, c) strategy and goals for knowledge management projects and d) utilization of knowledge and technology. Culture linked factors that can expedite knowledge management are, employee willingness, networks are formed, teams are built, employees are trained, staff is rotated, failure is seen as facilitator for learning, knowledge is shared at regular intervals, best practices are used, time is available to employees, free access to information, common language is spoken in the organization and rewards are given to those employees who support knowledge management.Tuggle and Shaw (2000) concluded that knowledge management can be enabled or impeded by organization's culture. One way to review an organization's culture is to cross examine theimpact of knowledge management on an employee's set of activities, meetings and attitudes. If the organization's culture brings changes to the individual's daily work routines, then the employee will be most likely to embrace the new work system. They come forward with the model that can be used to gauge whether or not existing culture is appropriate for the successful implementation of knowledge management. Hurley and Green (2005) utilized the Leavitt's (1965) model of an organizational change as a framework to review the components essential for efficacious knowledge management culture. The results portray that -task, structure, technology, and people - conduce significantly to a knowledge management culture.
Cultural Factors that Hinder or Contribute in Knowledge Management
After reviewing the literature we found following culture related factors that can impact knowledge management in the organizations either positively or negatively.
Kiasu-ism refers to mentality that "knowledge is my power" and job insecurities in addition to competition among peers which lead to the hoarding of knowledge by employees for self-preservation (Chaudry 2005; p.6).Organizational culture with high Kiasu-ism will be unable to create culture of collaboration and mutual trust. Organizational culture should promote the belief that sharing leads to power rather using knowledge as a power (Goh, Ryan et al. 2006). Organization has to make sure that their employees should get chance to learn but, also develop themselves at job (Iftikhar, Dickson et al. 2003). Organizational culture that does not help its employees to realize that knowledge sharing will increase collective power rather individual power will not be able to implement knowledge management (Milton 2002).
Organizational culture that does not encourage communities/teams building fails to institute knowledge management. Two heads can provide more solutions for any puzzle as compare to one head. To certify that knowledge sharing will take place among members, organization should make cross-divisional teams (Milton 2002).This drive will not only publicize the knowledge management, but it will also ease to amalgamate ideas from different sources (Nonaka 1995).By building teams organizations can make exercise the hidden skills and experience of its members in the more productive ways (Choi 2004). Usoro and Kuofie (2006) observed that knowledge friendly culture is one in which employees work closely with each other (Usoro and Kuofie 2006). Teams or communities may build collaboration, where, collaboration refers to "the degree to which people in a group actively assist one another in their task" (Hurley and Green 2005; p.47). Without collaboration knowledge sharing and creation can never be possible; this is because collaboration directs toward the concept of "togetherness".
REWARDS & INCENTIVES
Organizations that want to see their knowledge management initiative to be successful, they have to offer incentives and rewards to their employees. These incentives and rewards are the source of motivation and moral boost (Goh, Ryan et al. 2006). Robbins, Millet et al. (2001) and Robbins (1998) defined incentives as "things that have the ability to incite determination or action by employees in an organization" (as cited by Goh, Ryan et al. 2006; p.107). Wood, Wallace et al. (1998) has defined extrinsic rewards as "positively valued work outcomes that are given to the employee in the work setting" whereas intrinsic rewards are "positively valued work outcomes that are received by the employee directly as a result of task performance" (as cited by Goh, Ryan et al. 2006; p.107). Both types of rewards lead to knowledge management (Goh, Ryan et al. 2006). Incentives and rewards influence both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation (Amabile 1997). As employees indulge themselves only in those activities where their effort is appreciated, and they get favorable return for their effort (Gammelgaard 2007).These rewards will not only help employees to get personal satisfaction, but also help them to fulfill their monetary needs (Amabile 1997).
TOLERANCE FOR ERRORS/MISTAKES
Organizational culture in which employees are penalized for their errors/mistakes will not lead toward knowledge management. Organizations that want their knowledge management initiative to be successful they have to promote a culture where employees may not be penalized for their errors (Milton 2002). It is due to reason that mistakes create opportunities for learning which will help organization to get new ideas (Iftikhar, Dickson et al. 2003).
According to Iftikhar et al. (2003) those organizations will be successful in which sufficient time is available to employees to think creatively. One of the cultural barriers to knowledge management is that no time is available to the employees to share their knowledge. Solution to this problem is that "capturing and sharing of knowledge should be part of routine work rather another addition to responsibility (Milton 2002). Organizations can utilize their official as informal time period to promote their knowledge management initiative.
Organizations should exercise common language at the workplace i.e. official language (Milton 2002). Organization had to put a restriction on their employees to exercise only one language at the workplace and this language should be the only source of communication between employees (Iftikhar, Dickson et al. 2003).
SHARE INFORMATION FREELY
According to Park et al. (2004) knowledge based culture is one in which employees can share their information freely without any obstacle (as cited in Usoro and Kuofie 2006). Sharing of information will occur freely, only, when organization will use its knowledge as strength and employees had free access to all kind of relevant information i.e. routine and sensitive information without any hurdle (Iftikhar et al. 2003).
Knowledge management requires trust (Ford 2001). According to Currall & Judge (1995) trust is defined as "an individual's reliance on another party under conditions of dependence and risk." (as cited in Ford 2001; p.30) .According to, IBM institute of knowledge-based Organization (IKO) trust plays a vital role in knowledge sharing (Levin, Cross et al. 2002). Target of trust are, why knowledge management require trust? This is due to the reasons that trust not only help to create coordination but also plays a vital role in the exchange of not only explicit knowledge but also in the exchange of tacit knowledge without any hurdle (Ford 2001).
Autonomy is task related and referred to "the degree to which organization members are allowed discretion in their work" (Usoro and Kuofie 2006; p.19). Organization that help its employee to realize that they are asset for them and empower their employees to make judgment according to their own choice will lead toward knowledge management. Organizations that transfer their decision making initiative lower down in the hierarchy will be able to implement knowledge management initiative successfully as compare to those organizations that make their decision at the top level. According to Bartlett and Ghoshal (2002) by empowering employees organization can get more contribution from its employees in their meetings and on important matters (as cited by Choi 2004).
Every organization deals with external environment factors e.g. competition and have to shape their strategy according to that environment. Firms not only depend on their internal source of knowledge but also from its external resources (Chen and Lin 2004). It is the internal environment that sets the rules and guidelines regarding how to deal with external environment (Usoro and Kuofie 2006). Organizations often use consultants or conduct benchmarking to make their knowledge management initiative successful (Hafeez, Abdelmeguid et al. 2000). The external sources to knowledge management are industry trend analysis and journals (Nor, 2006).
According to Usoro and Kuofie (2006) interdepartmental coordination requires horizontal variables. This is due to the reason that these variables can either discourage or facilitate open exchange of knowledge between group members. According to Long (1997) horizontal interaction can help to attain interdepartmental coordination. Horizontal interaction depends on volume of interaction. These interactions can occur through formal or informal meetings. Through face-to-face interaction employees can get new knowledge (Sharratt and Usoro 2003).
HUMAN RESOURCE CONTENT
Quinn (1988); Gordon (1990); Gordon and DiTomaso (1992); Marcoulides and Heck (1993) referred human resource content as an explicit component of organizational culture (as cited in Usoro and Kuofie 2006; p.19).
Improvement orientation is meant to capture the pro-activity of the organization in improving its work practices (Usoro and Kuofie 2006; p.19).Organization measure their knowledge management process against set of standards and this happens at permanent basis (Flynn 2004).
According to the Robbins (1998); Wood, Wallace et al. (1998); Robbins, Millet et al. (2001) leadership refers to 'the ability to influence and develop individuals and teams to achieve goals that have been set by the organization". (as cited in Goh, Ryan et al. 2006; p.106). It is the leader who provides the path and employees required to follow. Organizational culture in which leaders lead from front and support their employees will be able to create and share knowledge (Ambrosio 2000). Leader can influence organizational culture through its intuition, mission and strategies (Haneberg, VP et al. 2009). There are two types of leaderships a) Transactional leadership and b) Transformational leadership. According to Robbins, Millet et al. (2001) transactional leadership refer to "those leaders who guide and motivate subordinates in direction of established goals by clarifying role and task requirements" (as cited in Gan et al. 2006; p.107). According to Robbins, Millet et al. (2001) and Wood, Wallace et al. (1998) transformational leadership refers to "those leaders who possess charisma and provide individualized consideration and intellectual stimulation to subordinates (as cited in Gan et al., 2006; p.107). Organizational culture that promotes transformational leadership will be able to implement knowledge management successfully (Crawford 2003).
Organizational culture in which worth of knowledge is recognized, they train their employees by offering different programs i.e. mentorship programs, job rotation etc. Training can be provided on the job and off the job. These training session aid employees to enhance their knowledge (Gümüs, and Hamarat 2004). Success of knowledge management initiative relies on skills and motivation, which can be advanced only through training (Choi 2004).
This research was initiated with the intention to measure an understanding of knowledge management process and its implementation in banking industry of Pakistan. Main aim was to identify cultural factors considered necessary to support knowledge management process. Moreover, intention was to measure the extent of different cultural variables perceived positive/negative contributor in knowledge management process.
Based on literature synthesis different factors i.e. Kiasu-ism, communities/teams, rewards and incentives, tolerance for errors/mistakes, time, languages, trust, free sharing of information, autonomy, empowerment, external orientation, interdepartmental coordination, improvement orientation, leadership, training, and human resource content were observed important cultural factors/concepts contribute positive/negative in the process of knowledge management.
Kiasu-ism reflects individuals believe that knowledge is just individual's power and one may not share it with others. Kiasu-ism was measured with two different variables i.e. "I considered knowledge as my (individual) power" and "I considered knowledge sharing as power". Teams/communities also contribute in knowledge management process which was measured through cross functional and interdepartmental teams. Teams/communities contribution was measured through question i.e. "Please specify the role and extent of cross functional teams/communities and interdepartmental teams/communities in knowledge management process". Rewards and incentives leads to knowledge management. Two different rewards including were intrinsic and extrinsic were probed through question i.e. "Please specify the role and extent of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards in knowledge management process". Other factor was time, which was asked through a question i.e. "Please specify role and extent of formal and informal time contribute in knowledge management process in your organization". The role of language was measured through question i.e. "Please specify the role and extent of official and local languages in knowledge management process". Trust also contribute in knowledge management, trust was measured through four different variables i.e. "trust between employees", "trust between team members", trust on organization by the employees" and "trust on organizational polices, procedures, and laws. Free access to information sharing leads to knowledge management, informational variable were measured through question i.e. "Please specify the role and extent of information sharing both sensitive and routine information and it's free access across the organization leads to knowledge management process". Another variable that contribute in knowledge management is leadership. The role and extent of leadership styles i.e. transformational leadership and transactional leadership were measured through question i.e. "Please specify the role and extent of transformational and transactional leaders in knowledge management. Last factor under observation was training, which were measured through two different variable i.e. on the job training and off the job training.
Total 115 responses through well structured questionnaire were managed across banking industry of Pakistan that was classified as private banks limited and public banks limited. Snowball referencing was used to manage high response rate. Out of 115 responses, 73 i.e. (63%) were from private banks limited while 42 i.e. (37%) were from public banks limited. Data were analyzed through Microsoft Excel version 2003 and Statistical package for social science (SPSS) version 12 for windows. Descriptive (mean) analysis was used to compare role and extent of cultural factors and sub-factors (variable) in knowledge management process across public and private banks limited. High score mean describe the most important factors and low mean score depicts the least important factor. Independent sample t-test was administered to determine the difference of mean score. Significance values (p < 0.05) reveal all those variables on which respondents of both private limited and public limited banks deviate considerably. The structured questionnaire was designed to navigate theresponse of the respondents about cultural factors that considerably contribute in knowledge management. Moreover, cultural variable were measured using five point likert scale, where 1 stand for strongly agree, 2 means agree, 3 means neutral, 4 means disagree and 5 stands for strongly disagree. Some general information such as bank name, designation of the respondent, organizational level and contact information were also probed. Table-3.2 comprehends the name and details of banks used as respondent in the study.
This section presents the findingon cultural factors that were believed to be necessary for knowledge management. In question number 1, respondents of both private and public limited banks were asked to score each cultural factor out of 100. Fifteen organizational culture factors were probed including were; leadership, trust, training, rewards & incentives, free information sharing, interdepartmental coordination, improvement orientation, communities/teams management, human resource contents, autonomy/empowerment of employees in decision making, languages used at work, external orientation, time availability, tolerance for errors/mistakes, and Kiasu-ism. Figure 1 and 2 comprehend mean analysis of these factors, results reflect that all cultural factors under observation were scored high mean value except Kiasu-ism, that means employees at private banks as well at public banks are high motivated to share knowledge within their organization. Second, the culture in banking industry is conducive to promote knowledge management culture across banking industry of Pakistan.
It is quite interesting to note, though all the cultural factors considered important in term of their contribution in knowledge management by both public and private banks limited, but, individual contribution of each cultural factor perceived different in both public and private banks limited e.g. leadership observed to be most important by private banks, however, trust observed to be most important among public banks.
Based on the mean score of the other limited banks, it can be concluded that top ten cultural factors that are necessary for knowledge management are; 1) trust (mean value = 88.10), 2) training (mean value = 82.02 ), 3) leadership (mean value = 81.98 ), 4) use of reward and incentives (mean value = 81.43 ), 5) free sharing of information between the employees (mean value = 78.81 ), 6) interdepartmental coordination (mean value = 76.93 ), 7) human resource content (mean value = 76.55), 8) use of common language at the workplace to share ideas (mean value = 75.95 ), 9) improvement orientation (mean value = 74.12 ) and 10) building teams or communities to share knowledge (mean value = 72.74 ). A factor that was considered to be least significant in knowledge management was Kiasu-ism. It was ranked at 15th position by both private and other limited banks. Kiasu-ism refers to the ideology that knowledge is power only for me why I should share it with others?. Question two to eleven were designed to find out all those sub-factors that can contribute in the knowledge management. To testify the contribution of these sub-factors in the knowledge management descriptive statistics were used. Responses were based on the 5 point likert scale (1= strongly agree, 2= agree, 3=neutral, 4=disagree and 5= strongly disagree). Table 4; summarizes the results of both private and other limited banks on the likert scale.
According to the respondents of private limited banks, sub-factors thatwere essentialforthe knowledge management are, 1) organization should promote the belief that sharing as apower (m= 1.3014), 2) organization should offer extrinsic rewards (m= 1.7945), 3) official language (m=2.0000) should be used as a mean of communication rather local language, 4) interpersonal trust (m=1.8356) is required for knowledge management, 5) organization should grant free access to routine information (m=1.6438), 6) knowledge management requires transactional leadership (m=1.6301) and 7) on the job training (m=1.4521) is required for effective knowledge management.
According to the respondents of the other limited banks sub-factors that can contribute in the knowledge management are; 1) organization should popularize sharing as a power (m=1.4048), 2) sharing of new ideas occurred during the formal time period i.e. during working hours (m=1.9048) rather during the informal time period i.e. during tea time or lunch breaks, 3) official language (m=1.9524) should be used as a mean of communication rather local language, 4) effective knowledge management requires both interpersonal trust (m=1.9762) and 5) organizational trust (m=1.8571), 6) organization should provide free access to routine information (m=1.7143), 7) knowledge management requires transactional leadership(m=1.7143) and 8) on the job training (m=1.7381) is required for effective knowledge management.