Presently, with the increase of the public awareness regarding the importance of health insurance, the demand for the health insurance services has increased. The customer base in the health insurance companies is growing. The scenario is same also in Australia. As per the current statistics, the annual growth rate of the Australian health insurance sector is 6.4% and the revenue in the last financial year was $24 billion (Miller and Hayward 2017). The reports on the health insurance sector have disclosed that the health insurance companies are coming with new schemes to insure the health of the people in a better way (Keleher 2016). Due to the demand in the health insurance services and introduction of new schemes, the health insurance companies in Australia require maintaining huge number of data related to customers’ preferences, customers’ personal data and other information.
This research proposal will particularly focus on the area of knowledge management and its’ impact on the service quality of the health insurance firms in Australia. During this research proposal it will be clear that how the main research study will be proceed. In order to conduct the study in more concise manner, the concentration will be made on a particular private health insurance company – Medibank, Australia. Medibank is one of the most popular private health insurance service providing companies in Australia. The company is currently covering 29.1% of the market in Australia.
The aim of the study will be identifying and analyzing the effect of knowledge management practices on service delivery quality in private health insurance firms. As per the current scenario, many people in Australia have complained that they are not getting proper service from the health insurance companies within the required time. This type of problem may be occurring due to the improper knowledge management system in the companies. However, the companies have not mentioned anything about the problems in their knowledge management systems (Pradhan et al. 2016). Therefore, the main problem area that the study will face is identifying the loopholes in the current knowledge management techniques that are affecting the service quality of the health insurance firms in Australia.
Identifying the concept of knowledge management and its benefits
According to Rundi (2016), knowledge management is a systematic procedure through which the business organizations manage their information and other knowledge resources. In the other words, Wang and Wang (2016) has described knowledge management as the process of managing the data and information that includes three basic activities – capturing the information, distributing the information to different users and effectively using the information by the users within the company. Inkinen and Inkinen (2016) noted that the concept of knowledge management came to existence in 1990. The main reason behind introducing such concept was to organize and manage the information of the companies in an effective manner. At this current scenario, most of the business organizations especially the large organizations have implemented the knowledge management systems within their operational systems. Wang and Yang (2016) mentioned that the organizations implement the knowledge management system so that they can enjoy the benefits of it. The benefits of knowledge management are mentioned below:
Better decision making – The use of proper knowledge management system helps the business organizations taking better decision within less time. In the process of knowledge management, the information and data are kept in a systematic procedure and at the same time, the knowledge management system keeps only the useful data (Hughes and Gosney 2016). Therefore, while taking any decision, management can easily access the information and they do not need extra time for extracting the useful part from the entire information and data set. Hence, the decision making process become easy and effective.
Improve the service quality – The knowledge management system in a business organization especially the service providing organization helps providing better services to the customers. In the knowledge management system, the companies can keep the information of the customers in a systematic manner (Tseng 2016). Due to that, when the customers ask for the services related to their previous transactions, the companies can easily provide the required service. For example, if in a telecommunication service providing company, a customer asks for the calling details or recharge related details, then through the knowledge management system, the company can easily provide the information to the customer (Obeidat et al. 2016).
Reducing time and cost – The use of knowledge management system can reduce the use of time and cost in the organizations. If the organizations maintain their information and data through knowledge management system, then they do not require providing extra time and effort to identify the relevant data and information (Obeidat et al. 2016). No manual handling is required. Hence, the time and cost get reduced.
Avoiding the risk of losing the data and information – The knowledge management system maintain the data and information in a technical way. No manual data and information management is required in this system. Hence, the risk of losing the important data and information can be avoided easily (Jennex, Smolnik and Croasdell 2016).
Identifying the limitations in knowledge management system
Knowledge management is very useful tool in today’s business scenario. However, this useful tool also has some limitations, due to which the business organizations face different challenges while using the knowledge management system. The limitations of knowledge management system are as follows:
- The knowledge management system in a company is not able to provide any clue about the future performance or outcome of the company (Al-Busaidi and Olfman 2017). Due to this, the usability of the knowledge management system is limited.
- There is a risk of data and information loses due to the problem of the system failure. The knowledge management systems in the companies are based on the technology (Tseng 2016). Therefore, sometimes, due to the technological failure, the knowledge management systems of the companies do not work properly and the data and information may be lost due to that. If this happens, the company may face huge problem.
- Knowledge management system is based on advanced technology. This means, the companies must appoint knowledgeable and skilled personnel for operating the knowledge management system. If any time, the responsible person is absent in the organization, then he whole system suffers (Inkinen and Inkinen 2016). Moreover, the employees, who do not have enough experience of using knowledge management system, also face difficulties for using the system.
- Implementing the knowledge management system within the company requires investing high amount of money at the initial phase. At the same time, the maintenance of knowledge management also requires much investment (Jennex, Smolnik and Croasdell 2016). Therefore, for the small and medium size companies, it is not at all possible to enjoy the knowledge management system.
Analyzing the relationship between the knowledge management system and performance of the company
The above discussion and analysis has clearly shown that knowledge management system of a company has several benefits, but the system is not flawless. However, Obeidat et al. (2016) mentioned that the good quality knowledge management system positively influence the performance standard of the companies. Jennex, Smolnik and Croasdell (2016) on the other hand commented that the knowledge management system in a company has direct impact on four different elements or aspects of the company and these are – process, people, performance and products.
Implementation of proper knowledge management system enhances the process effectiveness and efficiency. The organization requires less time for processing the input to desired output. For example, in the large banks like, National Australia Bank, the entire system depends on the knowledge management (Nationalaustraliabank.com 2017). Due to this system, the management of National Australia Bank can take right decision within minimum time. This means, due to the knowledge management system, the entire process within the organization becomes smoother. At the same time, as the works in the company is done within a minimum timeframe, the cost of the company is also reduced. This means, the performance of the company is improved.
The implementation of the knowledge management system also improves the quality of the people within the company. The employees can improve their learning through this system. Along with that, the advanced knowledge management system makes the employees more flexible and gives job satisfactions to them (Al-Busaidi and Olfman 2017). Hence, the performance standard of each employees as well as entire organization is improved. However, in this context, Wang and Yang (2016) argued that the employees of the organization can be flexible if they know the how to use the system, otherwise, it may occur high cost to the company.
Rundi (2016) noted that the implementation of the knowledge management system can improve the service or product quality of the business. If the example of National Australia Bank is considered, then it can be said, as the organization runs its business through the knowledge management system, the employees of the bank has the access of the customer’s data and information at all time. Therefore, if a customer asks for any service at any time, the employees can provide that. This means, the service quality becomes improved. However, Obeidat et al. (2016) argued that is any data is lost due to the system failure and then knowledge management system can negatively affect the service quality of the company. On the contrary, Tseng (2016) stated that the system failure canbe avoided through proper maintenance. Moreover, as the process, people and service or products are improved, the performance of the company automatically improves.
The questions based on which the research will be carried on are as under:
- Why the knowledge management system is important at present business context?
- How knowledge management system helped Medibank improving its service quality?
- What are the major challenges faced by Medibank due to the use of knowledge management?
- How the companies can improve their knowledge management system further?
H0: The knowledge management system has no positive relationship with the service quality of the organization.
H1: The knowledge management system has direct positive relationship with the service quality of the organization.
This research will be based on a specific methodology that will include specific philosophy, approach and design of the research. The philosophy, approach and design are the bases of a research project. While conducting this particular research, it will be necessary selecting the specific philosophy, approach and design from the available group of philosophy, approach and design. Among all of the three research philosophies that are – positivism, realism and interpretivism, the study will prefer to choose positivism. The positivism philosophy will help the research analyzing the data following the quantitative data analysis method (Baskerville and Wood-Harper 2016). The approach of the research will be the deductive approach, which will help completing the study successfully within minimum possible time (Wright et al. 2016).
At the same time, the deductive approach is very effective for conducting the study by setting the research hypotheses in the beginning. The design of the research will be based on the descriptive research design, which is effective for conducting the detailed analysis during the study (Stanek, Babkin and Zubov 2016). This detailed analysis can be done based on available literature and theories.
Selecting the topic of the research
Setting aim, questions and hypotheses of the research
Reviewing the existing literature
Selection of the methodology for the research
Initiating the primary data collection
Conducting the analysis of the primary data
Identifying the results of the analysis
Deriving the conclusion of the study
Providing appropriate recommendations
Final draft preparation
Table 1: Gantt chart
(Source: Created by author)
Every research project must have a systematic flow, so that the aim can be achieved successfully within the required time (Robson and McCartan 2016). The process of this particular research will start with the topic selection and along with that setting the aim, questions and hypotheses of the study. The second step of the study will be literature review. In this stage, the research will gather the information from the previous literature.
The third step will be the selection of proper methodology. In this step, the philosophy, approach and design of the research will be selected. At the same time, the data collection and analysis methods will be also decided. The next step will be data collection and analysis. In this step, the research will gather the primary data from the relevant sources and will analyze those through valid data analysis techniques. After that the research will derive the conclusion by identifying to what extent the findings of the research have provided answers to the questions and lastly, the recommendations will be provided.
Data collection and analysis methods
Data collection is one of the essential parts of a research. The success of a research highly depends on the quality of the data that it collects. This particular research will collect primary and secondary data, so that the study can be done accurately. The primary data will be collected by conducting survey as well as interviews. The sample for the survey will be selected from the employees of Medibank. The sample will be gathered by using the probability sampling method. The sample size is expected to be 90 for the survey of the study. On the other side, the sample for the interview will be selected from the managers of Medibank. The expected sample for the interview is 4 managers. The sample will be selected by following the non-probability sampling method. The required secondary data will be gathered from the journals, articles and different websites.
After gathering the data, the research will require analyzing those collected data through proper data analysis methods. The data collected through survey will be analyzed by using the quantitative data analysis method. This particular method will help analyzing the huge quantity of survey data very easily through mathematical analysis method (Gray and Malins 2016). On the other side, the data collected by the interview, will be analyzed using the qualitative method of data analysis. This method will help analyzing the data in detailed manner (Carter et al. 2016).
This research will aim to identify and analyze the impact of knowledge management on the service delivery of the health insurance firms. It is expected that the study will be able to identify how the knowledge management is used by the current health insurance companies in Australia. At the same time, it is also expected that the study will focus on the challenges of the knowledge management system in a particular health insurance company like, Medibank. After identifying the challenges, the study will be able to identify how these challenges are negatively impacting the service quality of the company. Moreover, the study is expected to analyze the overall efficiency of the knowledge management system in respect to the health insurance company in Australia.
This proposal has identified that knowledge management system is very useful at the current business context. The use of knowledge management may improve the performance standard of the business organizations. At the same time, the knowledge management system also improves the efficiency of the employees. However, this system has also some limitations for which the performance quality of the companies may be negatively affected.
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