BACKGROUND: A striking feature of the knowledge management (KM) literature is that the
standard list of KM processes either subsumes or overlooks the process of knowledge seeking.
Knowledge seeking is manifestly under-theorised, making the need to address this gap in KM
theory and practice clear and urgent.
OBJECTIVES: This article investigates the theoretical status of the knowledge-seeking process
in extant KM models and frameworks. It also statistically describes knowledge seeking and
knowledge sharing practices in a sample of South African companies. Using this data, it
proposes a KM model based on knowledge seeking.
METHOD: Knowledge seeking is traced in a number of KM models and frameworks with a
specific focus on Han Lai and Margaret Graham’s adapted KM cycle model, which separates
knowledge seeking from knowledge sharing. This empirical investigation used a questionnaire
to examine knowledge seeking and knowledge sharing practices in a sample of South African
RESULTS: This article critiqued and elaborated on the adapted KM cycle model of Lai and
Graham. It identified some of the key features of knowledge seeking practices in the
workplace. It showed that knowledge seeking and sharing are human-centric actions and that
seeking knowledge uses trust and loyalty as its basis. It also showed that one cannot separate
knowledge seeking from knowledge sharing.
CONCLUSION: The knowledge seeking-based KM model elaborates on Lai and Graham’s model.
It provides insight into how and where people seek and share knowledge in the workplace.
The article concludes that it is necessary to cement the place of knowledge seeking in KM
models as well as frameworks and suggests that organisations should apply its findings to
improving their knowledge management strategies.