Malawian MBA graduate, Mr James Chilita presented the findings of his MBA dissertation research titled: The role of knowledge management in the growth and sustainability of Malawi small- medium enterprises at the Mancosa [GSB] Research Evening recently.
Mr Chilita who in recent years has dabbled in entrepreneurship presented a study on how knowledge management helped grow and sustain businesses in the context of a developing African economy where most Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are seldom professionally managed and where the infrastructure supporting the modern knowledge economy is still in its infancy.
Presenting his research at the Mancosa [GSB] Research Evening had been an inspiring experience for Mr Chilita who said:
“To present my work to fellow graduates, my esteemed professors and industry captains was awesome. I never expected to be one of the top 10 percent due to work and family commitments, however, I gave my research work all I could and my supervisor, Dr. Barnes was very good in guiding me.”
According to Mr Chilita there is a dominance of SMEs within the private sector, however, they do not see the importance of managing knowledge resources to increase the returns on their investments. Instead SME owners place greater importance on the tangible assets rather than their own skills and capabilities.
Knowledge awareness, knowledge role perceptions, challenges to managing knowledge and knowledge management enablers for SMEs in the context of the Malawian SME sector were the focus of the research.
Research findings suggest that the SME sector in Malawi is aware of knowledge resources as a tool to grow and sustain small businesses. However, their knowledge management practices are neither sound nor sufficiently sophisticated.
The study makes several recommendations to overcome the limitations on knowledge management practices among SMEs. These include:
- The need to help SMEs acquire the skills to utilise, share and generate knowledge from within and outside to other businesses;
- The need for policy makers to develop training programmes which demonstrate the significance of knowledge management for SME growth and survival.
- The need for government and financial institutions to help SMEs obtain the resources to utilise knowledge for business growth.
“The research will help SMMEs tremendously to grow, become competitive and survive the turbulence of the knowledge economy. It is my wish to establish or find a platform which would enable me to work with SMMEs across the SADC Region in order to help them utilise knowledge resources as well as other assets,” said Mr Chilita
Obtaining his MBA cum laude was not only a milestone experience for Mr Chilita but also a stepping stone to be at the forefront of knowledge creation. Next on the cards for Mr Chilita is pursuing a PhD.