Knowledge Management in the Nigerian Public Service

  • Hamilton Ekemena Ekeke

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This study investigates how knowledge is transferred in the Nigerian public service, the features of its bureaucratic culture, as well as, the effects that this culture has on knowledge transfer. The motivation to undertake this study is borne out of the identified gap in the literature, which bothers on the dearth of studies in the area of knowledge transfer, as well as, the specific features inherent in that of the Nigerian public service bureaucratic culture. Qualitative and quantitative research methods (i.e. semi-structured interviews and survey) are combined in gathering data for this study. Both the interviews and survey sample frames undertaken with key players of the public service covering the three cadres, (senior, and junior and management/directorate staff), were representative of all the aspects of the public service covered. Seven ministries out of a total of seventeen in the Bayelsa state public service forms the sample frame used for this research The overall empirical results indicate that there is knowledge transfer in the Nigerian public service in view of the available mechanisms used for the transfer of knowledge. In addition, the Nigerian bureaucratic culture has more negative effects than positive on knowledge transfer. The application of Hofstede’s theory reveals a high level of inequality, masculinity and autocracy as features of the Nigerian public service bureaucratic culture. The study also reveals that there is the use of very high sounding military fashion language in the public service, due to the long period of military rule. This research finds that there is reasonable awareness amongst public servants about knowledge and its sources that is needed to run the public service, but that access to knowledge, particularly tacit knowledge by authorised staff is difficult. Public servants agree that certain kind of knowledge transfer activities persist, although the terminology is relatively new to Nigeria. They agree that under the current democratic environment in which the public service operates, government should make concerted efforts to establish a knowledge transfer culture so as to make knowledge readily available. It recommends the entrenchment of a leaning, training and collaborative culture, as well as, the de-emphasising of hierarchy and creation of a more flexible public service.
The contribution of this study to knowledge is in the area of putting in place a framework for the effective implementation of knowledge management practice (transfer) in the Nigerian public service.
Date of Award06 May 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorSajjad Mohammad Jasimuddin (Supervisor) & Nerys Fuller-Love (Supervisor)


  • organisational knowledge
  • knowledge transfer
  • Nigerian culture

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