Knowledge Management and Quality in Croatian Tourism

Knowledge Management and Quality in Croatian Tourism

Ivanka Avelini Holjevac (University of Rijeka, Croatia), Kristina Crnjar (University of Rijeka, Croatia) and Ana-Marija Vrtodušic Hrgovic (University of Rijeka, Croatia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1969-2.ch009
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Abstract

Knowledge is an infinite resource of hotel enterprises and society as a whole. In hotel enterprises, it serves as a platform for practising sustainable development and gaining competitive advantages. Knowledge-based economic development provides the best opportunities for dealing with a global environment in which rapid and dynamic changes are taking place. Seen as a precondition to success, Knowledge Management (KM) will result in generating value-added in tourism. A survey was conducted in large and mid-sized hotel enterprises to demonstrate their KM level and the contribution of KM in gaining competitive advantages in the Croatian hotel industry. Empirical research was used to establish the level of KM development in the Croatian hotel industry, and to determine the importance of KM in gaining competitive advantages in the hotel industry. In addition to knowledge, quality is a vital factor in gaining competitive advantages in hotel enterprises. Globalized markets and increasingly discerning customers, demanding more and more for their money, are compelling product and service providers to ground their business systems on customer needs. Total Quality Management (TQM)—a new management philosophy—enables the systematic application of these ideas. This chapter looks at several TQM approaches that define the basic elements essential to successful TQM implementation, in particular, the element pertaining to employees. The application of these elements in the Croatian hotel industry is presented through the results of empirical research on a sample of mid-sized and large hotel enterprises.
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Background

Knowledge Management (KM) implies the systematic management of knowledge needed to accomplish business objectives and achieve sustainable development, as well as carry out related processes, to ensure competitive ability and business excellence on the global market (Črnjar, 2010). KM has emerged as a response to changes in the innovation process, among other things. Innovation is seen as the integration of knowledge with action, in the sense of blending the specialist knowledge of a range of groups into specific outcomes of either product or process change. Implementation is thus seen as an integral element of innovation (Leonard-Barton, 1998).

While investment in technology, equipment, and processes is very important, it is not enough. It cannot ensure growth and advantages over competitors, if there is little or no investment in people. An organization must continuously take action to stimulate and support learning. In that way, it can emphasize the necessity of lifelong learning. Employees will have a positive attitude towards learning and see it as a chance for improvement and not as a threat.

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