Original Research

Using explicit knowledge of groups to enhance firm productivity: A data envelopment analysis application

Ayodotun S. Ibidunni, Joachim A. Abiodun, Oyebisi M. Ibidunni, Maxwell A. Olokundun
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 22, No 1 | a2159 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v22i1.2159 | © 2019 Ayodotun S. Ibidunni, Joachim A. Abiodun, Oyebisi M. Ibidunni, Maxwell A. Olokundun | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 October 2017 | Published: 29 January 2019

About the author(s)

Ayodotun S. Ibidunni, Department of Business Management, Covenant University, Nigeria
Joachim A. Abiodun, Department of Business Administration, Federal University of Agriculture, Nigeria
Oyebisi M. Ibidunni, Department of Accounting, Bells University of Technology, Nigeria
Maxwell A. Olokundun, Department of Business Management, Covenant University, Nigeria


Background: The telecommunication industry is globally recognised to be a knowledge-intensive industry where high levels of technological sophistication are a key determinant of success and performance. Consequently, existing research has examined the role of labour hours and the firm’s capital on productivity. Nonetheless, research is yet to relate, with empirical evidence, productivity gains that accrue to organisations as a direct function of knowledge work and knowledge workers, especially with respect to group-explicit knowledge usage in emerging economies such as Nigeria. The adoption of data envelopment analysis further provides originality in the area of benchmarking group-explicit knowledge in telecommunication firms to enhance productivity. As such, this research takes on a scientific investigation to fill this gap.

Aim: The purpose of this research work was to determine the influence of group-explicit knowledge on the productivity of telecommunication organisations.

Setting: The setting of this research is composed of the four leading telecommunication firms in Nigeria and their customer service centres.

Methods: Based on a sample size of 42 customer service centres of the four most active global system for mobile communications organisations in Lagos state and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nigeria, the research adopted the output-oriented data envelopment analysis model to show the influence of group-explicit knowledge on productivity.

Results: The results showed that 15 decision-making units (DMUs) (representing 36%) were found to be technically efficient using the constant return to scale approach, while only 12 DMUs (representing about 28.6%), based on variable return to scale approach, were found to productively engage their present input resources in outputs that achieve optimal productivity for the firm.

Conclusion: Group-explicit knowledge dimensions that were investigated in this study significantly influence productivity of firms in Nigeria’s telecommunication industry. It was recommended that DMUs that were identified to be productivity deficient should hold resources input constant while their employees made efforts to scale up operations to enhance productivity.


organisational knowledge; group-explicit knowledge; productivity; telecommunication firms; data envelopment analysis


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Crossref Citations

1. Interacting Effects of Tacit Knowledge and Learning Orientation in Improving Firm Performance
Ayodotun Stephen Ibidunni, Babatunde Daniel Agbi, Busola E. Kehinde
Journal of the Knowledge Economy  vol: 14  issue: 3  first page: 2539  year: 2023  
doi: 10.1007/s13132-022-00978-z