1 International Journal On New Trends In Education And Literature Vol 1, No 6, Feb The Relationship between Knowledge Management Elements and Organizational Learning among Faculty Members of Islamic Azad Fereshteh Behrad Manesh 1, Reza Sadeghi 2 1,2 Department of Educational Planning, Dezful Branch, Islamic Azad University, Dezful, Iran Abstract This research aimed to examine the relationship between knowledge management elements and organizational learning in the faculty members of Islamic Azad. This is a correlational, descriptive-survey study. The statistical population includes all (302) faculty members. Using simple random sampling method, the sample size was determined based on Morgan table, which consisted of 169 participants. The data collection instruments include Nifeh's organizational learning (2001) and Lawson's knowledge management (2004) questionnaires. The results of the main hypotheses of the research revealed that there was a significant relationship between knowledge management and organizational learning of the staff and faculty members at a significance level of Each elements of knowledge management were also studied using a correlation test the results of which showed that there was a significant relationship between all knowledge management elements (knowledge creation, knowledge capture, knowledge organization, knowledge storage, knowledge dissemination and knowledge application) and organizational learning of Islamic Azad faculty members at a significance level of And all secondary hypotheses of the research were confirmed. Keywords: knowledge management, organizational learning, faculty members, Islamic Azad 1- Introduction Today no longer physical and tangible assets of organizations such as money, buildings, and facilities are regarded as competitive advantages. It is the knowledge of manpower and intellectual capital which can play a determining role in increasing competitive ability. This has led to significant changes in regard to management science so that it is termed knowledge management. For an organization, knowledge should be exchangeable between human individuals and can grow (Akhavan et al., 2010). Knowledge management is majorly applied in organizations in order to adapt to the changing environment quickly for innovation,
2 56 productivity and greater profitability. That is why knowledge management refers to the process of knowledge creation, dissemination and application in organizations. Knowledge management is interconnected with organizational learning; organizational learning resides in knowledge management and influences the performance of an organization in the long term (Daneshgar Zadeh, 2011). Nowadays organizations need effective and efficient employees so that they can reach their goals in order to grow and develop. Generally, effectiveness of an organization depends on its manpower and employees' efficiency. Knowledge dissemination and creating a friendly environment for learning are of the most important factors affecting employees' performance. Service organizations like universities have also faced increased competition as manufacturing organizations have. These organizations must be able to maintain their customers and attract new ones by satisfying their high and increasing demands. To cope with this challenge, a lot of emphasis has been put on knowledge management and even teamwork theory (Liu, 2008, as cited in Ardakani, 2011). Higher education system in any country is one of the factors affecting economic, social and cultural development policies. Providing and training specialized and experienced manpower is basic for development in all countries in which knowledge creation, scholarship and basic, developmental and applied research are conducted by universities and higher education centers. Thus, higher education system practically helps developing the country by its outputs and effects (Mohammadi, 2005). Therefore, these institutes must try harder to disseminate and transfer knowledge to the community in order to reach this goal. Meanwhile, the central role of knowledge management in creating a supporting-innovation-work environment has been emphasized. In other words, knowledge management can be regarded as a key factor in gaining profit, progressing and maintaining the competitive advantage. Hence, in addition to business organizations, educational institutes also need order and integrated cooperation in order to implement knowledge management. Today's educational environment deal with a variety of changes. As a result, applying a method for creating knowledge and implementing it is to reach educational goals and the maximum essential assets (Mohammadi Rad, 2006). Given what has been mentioned as regards the importance of knowledge management, examining and exploring the previous studies can be a big step in enhancing the performance of employees. Various studies have been carried out in Iran in this regard. Salehi (2010) carried out a research under the title the relationship between organizational learning and knowledge management among faculty members of Marvdasht Islamic Azad University and came to this conclusion that there was a significant relationship between these two factors. In this research, organizational learning had the most dramatic effect on the ability of organizational learning in the faculty members and a direct relationship was observed between the number of the ideas put forward and learning ability. Hossein Gholi Zadeh et al. (2010), in a research based on Nonaka and Takeuchi's model, found that internalization in knowledge management is of the highest position in Ferdowsi University of Mashhad. They learned that most managers in this university were more interested in internalizing knowledge and competing with others rather than sharing and exchanging their knowledge and experiences. Mohammadi Nasr (2012) analyzed the status
3 57 of knowledge management in higher education institutes and examined its relationship with innovation. The results showed that there was a significant relationship between all underlying dimensions (technology, structure and culture) and the process of knowledge management (knowledge creation, knowledge capture, knowledge storage and etc.) with (technical and administrative) innovations. On the other hand, the examination of non-iranian studies provides an appropriate framework for understanding the application and importance of organizational learning and knowledge management in organizations. Harvey and Denton (2008), in order to find the necessary conditions for promoting organizational learning in several big companies performed a research the results of which indicated that wide agreement that knowledge era is an important advantage for developing organizational learning is a necessity for changes in business environment. The existence of a competitive culture, encouraging new ideas, risk-taking and employee involvement in decision making pave the way for learning. Kamasak and Bulutlar (2010) examined the effect of knowledge sharing on innovation and discovered that there was a significant relationship between knowledge sharing and innovation. Liao and Wu (2010) investigated the relationship between organizational learning, knowledge management and organizational innovation and found that organizational learning was a mediator variable between knowledge management and organizational innovation. In this process, knowledge management acts like an input, organizational learning like a process, and innovation like an output. It can be said that the aim of carrying out such research is to display that conscious organizations know that knowledge is an intellectual capital which changes over time and if it is applied effectively, it can maintain the competitive status of organizations. The complete use of an organization intellectual capital can bring considerable financial benefits. So the organizations which learn sooner, faster and better than their competitors are more successful and show this lesson in their working processes. Therefore, knowledge management and organizational learning are interconnected and we need their effects and interactions in order to gain advantages in global markets (Davenport, 2002, as cited in Daneshgar Zadeh, 2011). In such conditions, if universities want to do their tasks ideally, they need to ensure the beneficiaries (society, government, students and so on) that academic services are high quality. Knowledge management help these organizations to have a more effective knowledge process. Universities should exploit the existing knowledge and new knowledge creation. In this regard, knowledge management plays a key role. Such organizations need to know that establishing any system in an organization require its own prerequisites in accordance with different conditions and if such conditions are not met, the establishment will fail (Balogun, Hawisa and Tannock, 2004, as cited in Bakhtiar Nasr Abadi, 2010). According to what was said above, the reason behind choosing a knowledge-based research is the interconnection between productivity of an organization and organizational learning. This has caused rival universities to take necessary measures. In fact, they have increased their learning through new styles of teaching, helping to improve their working process. Moreover, knowledge management is a new subject in these universities and the examination of its
4 58 different dimensions can play a vital role in organizational learning. So, this research has firstly attempted to identify the factors affecting and implementing knowledge management success, and study the role of these factors in organizational learning, by which it helps increasing productivity in organizational learning in Islamic Azad since this increased productivity in organizational learning leads to increased efficiency in the entire system of higher education. Accordingly, the main aim of this research is to determine the possible relationship between the elements of knowledge management and organizational learning in the faculty members of Islamic Azad University, Dezful branch. 2- Methodology The main aim of this research is to study the relationship between knowledge management elements and organizational learning among faculty members of Islamic Azad University, Dezful branch. In terms of objective, this is an applied research and methodologically a correlational, descriptive-survey study. The statistical population includes all (302) faculty members. Using simple random sampling method, the sample size was determined based on Morgan table, which consisted of 169 participants. The data collection instruments included two questionnaires with Likert scale, one of which was Nifeh's organizational learning (2001) consisting of shared vision, organizational culture, work and team learning, sharing, systems thinking, collaborative leadership and employee competency development, and in the form of 1=strongly disagree, 2=disagree, 3=neither agree nor disagree, 4=agree, 5=strongly agree. The second questionnaire was Lawson's knowledge management (2004) questionnaire which was formed of knowledge creation, knowledge capture, knowledge organization, knowledge storage, knowledge dissemination and knowledge application in the form of very low (1), low (2), average (3), high (4), and very high (5). In order to determine the validity of the questionnaires, some questions were removed and modified with the help of advisors and in the end, 24 and 31 questions were confirmed for the knowledge management questionnaire and organizational learning questionnaire respectively. The Spearman correlation coefficient (internal consistency) between the questions of the knowledge management questionnaire in the faculty members and that of the organizational learning questionnaire in the faculty members has been equal to r=0.643 and r=0.842 respectively. In order to calculate the reliability of the questionnaires, Cronbach's alpha has been used, the value of which is for the former questionnaire and for the latter. To analyze the research data, descriptive statistics such as frequency table, percentage and column chart, mean and standard deviation, and inferential statistics Kolmogorov - Smirnov test, Pearson correlation and multiple regression analysis were used. SPSS has been used to analyze the collected data. In addition, a significance level of =0.05 has been considered for all hypotheses.
5 59 3- Findings A) Descriptive findings Table 1- Frequency distribution/ sex percentage and the education level of the faculty members of Islamic Azad University, Dezful branch Sex Education level Absolute frequency Percentage Total Female instructors Male instructors MA PhD Regarding sex, table 1 shows that 41.4% and 58.6% are female and male instructors respectively. In terms of the level of education, 39.1% are at MA level and 60.9% are at PhD level. B) The research main hypothesis There is a significant relationship between knowledge management and organizational learning in the faculty members of Islamic Azad. Table 2- Pearson correlation between knowledge management and organizational learning in the employees and the faculty members of Islamic Azad Dependent variable (criterion variable) Knowledge management Independent variable (predictor variable) Faculty members organizational learning in the faculty members of Islamic Azad Pearson correlation coefficient (r) Significance level (P) Error level ( ) Number 0.715** Test result H 0 rejected As table 2 indicates, the value of Pearson correlation test (r= 0.715) between knowledge management and organizational learning in the faculty members of Islamic Azad University of Dezful is significant at an error level of So the null hypothesis is rejected. The test is significant and since the value of correlation is positive, the direct relationship is accepted. Therefore, it can be concluded with 95% confidence that the higher the knowledge management of the faculty members of Islamic Azad, the more their organizational learning. That is; the main hypothesis is proved.
6 60 C- Secondary hypotheses Table 3 - Pearson correlation between knowledge management elements and organizational learning in the faculty members of Islamic Azad Dependent variable (criterion variable) Independent variable (predictor variable) Organizational learning in the faculty members of Islamic Azad Pearson correlation coefficient (r) Significance level (P) Error level ( ) Number Test result Knowledge creation 0.558** H 0 rejected Knowledge capture 0.542** H 0 rejected Knowledge organization 0.501** H 0 rejected Knowledge storage 0.572** H 0 rejected Knowledge dissemination 0.522** H 0 rejected Knowledge application 0.452** H 0 rejected ** Significance at a level of 0.01 and significance at a level of 0.05 Table 3 reveals that there is a significant relationship between all elements of knowledge management (knowledge creation, knowledge capture, knowledge organization, knowledge storage, knowledge dissemination and knowledge application) and organizational learning of Islamic Azad faculty members. So it can be concluded that knowledge management increases their organizational learning. 4- Conclusion Given the inferential findings with regard to the first hypothesis (there is a significant relationship between knowledge management and organizational learning in the faculty members of Islamic Azad ), the results show that the value of Pearson correlation test (r=0.715) between knowledge management and organizational learning in the faculty members of Islamic Azad is significant at an error level of So the null hypothesis is rejected. Since the value of correlation is positive, the direct relationship is accepted. Therefore, it can be concluded with 95% confidence that the higher the knowledge management of the faculty members of Islamic Azad, the more their organizational learning. That is; the main hypothesis is proved. In order to determine the relationship between knowledge management elements and organizational learning in the faculty members of Islamic Azad in the second hypothesis, 6 factors have been taken into account, which have been written as 6 secondary hypotheses. The results of the correlation test regarding the first hypothesis showed that there is a significant and positive relationship between knowledge management and organizational learning in the faculty members of Islamic Azad. In addition, each of the knowledge management
7 61 elements were tested by the correlation test the results of which revealed that there was a significant relationship between all elements of knowledge management (knowledge creation, knowledge capture, knowledge organization, knowledge storage, knowledge dissemination and knowledge application) and organizational learning of Islamic Azad faculty members. And all secondary hypotheses were confirmed. This finding along with that of Nadi (2009), Farahmand Pour (2009), Konjkav (2012), and Ardakan (2011), with the aim of determining the relationship between knowledge management elements with the levels of organizational learning in faculty members, indicates a significant relationship between knowledge management elements with the levels of organizational learning among faculty members. Bakhtiar Nasr Abadi (2010) and Darroch and McNaughton (200, as cited in Bagheri Nejad, 2011)) concluded similarly in a similar research. These findings are consistent with the current research findings. The findings of this research showed that the higher knowledge creation of the staff and faculty members of Islamic Azad, the more their organizational learning. It is possible to say that knowledge is created by the employee's experiences and skills. Knowledge is created by the individuals by determining new methods for doing tasks or developing knowledge. If knowledge is not found in an organization, the authorities are supposed to import it (Jalali, 2005). The findings indicated that from the viewpoint of the staff and faculty members of Islamic Azad, the authorities identify knowledge gaps in the university and fill them according to the defined guidelines or processes. There are also special methods for collecting knowledge-based documents and information in the university. This university is able to create and use knowledge using organizational practices and activities in cooperation with other universities. Additionally, all university personnel look for new ideas in order to create knowledge using traditional and non-traditional methods. Besides, the more knowledge the staff and faculty members of Islamic Azad University of Dezful capture, the higher will be their organizational learning. "Education and research are the two main functions of universities, addressing them adequately requires drawing upon the existing knowledge and information correctly. Universities and other research institutes import their knowledge. Therefore, organizations can import the knowledge which cannot be gained and developed by themselves" (Bakhtiar Nasr Abadi, 2010). The research findings showed that in this university tacit knowledge (what is in personnel's memory and is not codified) was valuable and this kind of knowledge was transferred between the university staff. Knowledge management was also a part of the main strategies of the university. Other findings of this research were that the university is aware of earning income from knowledge assets and it adopts strategies for commercializing (earning income from) the university. On the other hand, this university uses knowledge acquisition and learning in order to maintain the present competitive advantages and to gain more competitive advantages. At first, the university must detect, describe and analyze its knowledge environment, gaining an overall picture of the kind of the knowledge in the organization, information-seeking skills of employees as well as an
8 62 overall image of other organizations' information and helping the employees to find what they need and share their knowledge in order to work towards the organization's goals. The inferential results of the third secondary hypothesis showed that the more the faculty and staff of Islamic Azad draw upon knowledge, the higher their organizational learning. The findings of this research indicated that from the faculty members and employees' point of view, this university uses all of its facilities and resources in order to promote and enrich knowledge. There are also a set of criteria in this university against which organizational knowledge management is measured. In order to manage knowledge, the indices of the university provide interactions between hard and soft indicators, and between financial and non-financial indicators. Furthermore, it is also possible to gain income through the created knowledge. Lain argues that "a university which has a rich and dynamic complex but does not offer standard services, its complex are not used or if it provides adequate services to and behaves well towards customers but lacks a suitable complex, it is not fully efficient. In order to develop and apply knowledge in governmental organizations, knowledge management can brought into play, which leads knowledge sharing and application in a highly specialized way and modifies intellectual and ideological foundations of individuals" (Ardakani, 2011). The higher the knowledge storage of the staff and faculty members of Islamic Azad University of Dezful, they will have an increased organizational learning. The processes of regular selection, storage and updating of knowledge which are potentially valuable in the future should be organized carefully. Regarding knowledge management, this should also be carried out by service organizations so as to maintain the existing knowledge since the maintenance of the existing knowledge depends on using it effectively at the right time. The research findings showed that the responsibility for learning gaining and knowledge in the staff is upon their own shoulders. The available technology has also linked the members of the university to each other and the world outside the university. In universities, technology creates organizational memory. This organizational learning is accessible all across the organization. On the other hand, there is also an interest and flexibility in creating stimuli for knowledge acquisition. Creating and attracting knowledge is an important process in which motivation, indoctrination and experience play a key role. Knowledge creation and capture refer to the ability of organizations in creating novel and useful ideas and solutions. By developing and renewing the previous and current knowledge structure through an array of methods, universities create new realities and concepts. The research findings displayed that the higher knowledge dissemination of the faculty and staff of Islamic Azad, the higher their organizational learning. Knowledge dissemination should be available to anyone in the organization so that he/she can use it anytime and anyone. New technologies like teamwork, the Internet and others help disseminating knowledge. The findings showed that in this university the development of information technology takes place by a focus on manpower and the technologies used in relation to knowledge management bring the university closer to the students. Other findings also showed
9 63 that information systems used in the university are instantaneous, integrated and smart, offering technologies, which reinforce trust-based cooperation, to the staff uninterruptedly. Therefore, given the process of knowledge management, knowledge should be shared in organizational levels with the organization before it is utilized. The interaction between organization's technologies, techniques and individuals can have a direct impact on the distribution of knowledge. Using , intranet and newsgroup helps in the better distribution of knowledge within the organization, by which the individuals can exchange ideas. The inferential findings demonstrated that the higher knowledge organization of the faculty and staff of Islamic Azad, the higher their organizational learning. Organization is of high importance for knowledge management and can be effective in conducting it. The research findings indicated that individuals for helping in the development of organizational knowledge are employed in the university and educate them. Knowledge sharing is recommended by the university. Concerning knowledge management, there is also an atmosphere of trust in which different ideas are accepted. And in the university, value creation for the students is of interest as one of the aims of knowledge management. In the end, nowadays organizations need effective and efficient employees so as to grow and develop in all aspects. Generally, the effectiveness of organizations rests on the efficiency of their manpower and employees, among which knowledge dissemination and creating a friendly environment for learning are of the most important factors affecting employees' performance. Moreover, this kind of organizations like universities, due to producing knowledge in society, are of special importance with regard to learning. Thus, managers are required to begin being learners. It is such an environment in which innovation, creativity, self-confidence and idea productivity, and turning them into knowledge occur. References  Akhavan, P., & Bagheri, N. (2010). Knowledge Management (2 nd Edi.). Atinegar Publications.  Ardakani, A. (2011). The application of knowledge management elements in Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. Quarterly Journal of Research in Educational Sciences, 23.  Bagheri Nejad, J. (2011). Organizational learning and its performance in organizations. The Third International Conference on Performance Management, Tehran University.  Bakhtiar Nasr Abadi, J. (2010). The relationship between knowledge management and organizational learning and the use of communications technologies in Islamic Azad University, Garmsar branch. Quarterly Journal of New Approaches in Educational Administration. Vol. 2, No. 5.
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