PURPOSE: The aim of this paper is to report on research into whether knowledge can be managed more effectively by taking into consideration the nature and complexity of information being received by members of an organisation; the cognitive abilities of those members; and finally the nature and composition of the hierarchical structure of the organisation within which those members operate. DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH: The research reported on in this paper was carried out using a case study approach, with the focus on a single organisation to which the authors had special access. Data was gathered using a combination of interviews and a focus group, with participants drawn from a cross-section of members of the case study organisation. Analysis was conducted within the framework associated with the primary theoretical model (Jaques & Clement, 1991) that underpins this research. FINDINGS: This research helps to further an understanding of how individual and organisational performance may be influenced by issues such as cognitive processes and the relationship to information complexity. The research findings support the work of Jaques and Clement (1991). IMPLICATIONS: This research had important implications for the organisation in the case study investigation. Other organisations would need to evaluate the research findings in terms of their applicability to other organisations in the same industry, in the same country (South Africa) or elsewhere in other industries or in other countries on the African continent. ORIGINALITY/VALUE: This research is original in terms of the application of cognitive theory in conjunction with knowledge management principles in the context of the legal profession in South Africa. It has potential value in many other industries and countries.