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AbstractThe UK government has set ambitious targets for the construction industry to maintain global competitiveness. It aims to remove barriers, increase productivity, improve competition, at the same time benefiting the customers by lowering water bills. Through the water industry regulators, Ofwat, Defra and DWI, the privatised water industry saw competition opened for business and non-household water customers in 2017. Knowledge has become known as the major resource organisations must have to maintain a competitive advantage. Management of this organisational knowledge, commonly referred to as Knowledge Management (KM), creates business value generating competitive advantage, enabling creation, communication and application of various knowledge to achieve business goals. Although the UK water industry is information and knowledge rich, there is limited research in the KM subject within this industry. Therefore, the aim of this study is to explore, examine and understand how knowledge is being managed in the UK water industry. A qualitative case study was used for the collection and analysis of data with the results obtained through review of water company supply chain processes, documents, observations and semi structured interviews. Organisational culture and the need to maintain and retain business competitiveness was the major drive for implementation of KM, as found in this study. The water industry and its supply chain are changing their goals and objectives to align them with KM practices, identifying needed knowledge, creating KM resources, sharing and fostering knowledge through information technology tools. The study concludes that the knowledge rich water industry has put in place measures and processes fundamental to KM and will eventually take the next step for its full implementation. Organisational leadership and management were the initiating and driving positive KM cultures, placing knowledge as the major project resource. The current drive to create, foster and provide resources for KM through organisational culture changes and making use of information technology should continue to be invested in. This will allow organisations to maintain, sustain and increase competitiveness, improve productivity whilst meeting business goals. The advancement of information technology should also be taken advantage of as an enabler for implementing of KM strategies.
CitationKamunda, A., Renukappa, S. and Suresh, S. (2019) Knowledge management in the UK water industry, in Tome, E. (ed.) ECKM19: Proceedings of the 20th European Conference on Knowledge Management: Volumes 1 and 2. ACPI.