Department of Information Science

Stellenbosch University

Postgraduate Diploma in Knowledge and Information Systems Management


The primary purpose of the Postgraduate Diploma in Knowledge and Information Systems Management (KISM) is to provide working professionals with a grounding in the field of Knowledge and Information Systems Management and the theories, praxis and research methods employed in the field. The secondary purpose is to lay the foundations for Masters research in the field of Information and Knowledge Management at NQF level 9.

The KISM is designed for fully employed and therefore part-time students. For that reason the programme extends over two academic years. It includes three compulsory face-to-face contact sessions with assignments following each contact session and a face-to-face exit assessment. Whilst specific dates vary depending on year of enrollment, February/March and July/August is usually planned for the compulsory face-to-face contact. In other words, session 1 is in February/March and session 2 in July/August of the first year of enrollment. In the following year, session 3 takes place in February/March and the comprehensive exit assessment in August/September.

Content of the KISM

The KISM consists of six modules around a specific aspect. Each module consists of one or more assignments:

Knowledge Economy and Dynamics

Lecture content:

  • the history of the concept(s) knowledge
  • the impact of scientific and industrial revolutions on society and knowledge construction
  • the contemporary knowledge economy
  • knowledge dynamics in organisations
  • the role of computation in the construction of knowledge

Outcomes: In this module students learn to:

  • place contemporary knowledge needs of organisations in historical perspective
  • define knowledge and identify the dynamics of knowledge in organisations
  • understand the economic implications of knowledge and identify the core knowledge assets of an organisation

Management and Organisation

Lecture content:

  • the history and schools of management thought
  • the significant schools of contemporary organisation theory
  • organisations as complex social structures
  • the influence of information systems on the functioning of organisations

Outcomes: In this module students learn to:

  • explain how management and organisation theories have evolved over the past century
  • understand the complexities which impact on contemporary organisations as a result of the knowledge economy
  • identify the specific knowledge and information factors that shape the student’s workplace context
  • compare organisational designs and evaluate the appropriateness of each in the context of the knowledge economy

Knowledge Management Theory

Lecture content:

  • the various schools of knowledge management theories
  • sensemaking theory
  • systems and complexity theory
  • organizational learning and the learning organisation
  • intellectual capital
  • organisational knowledge process models

Outcomes: In this module students learn to:

  • distinguish between the main schools of thought in respect of organisational knowledge management
  • relate models of knowledge management to the student’s work place
  • understand the complexities of organisational sensemaking
  • understand systems and complexity theory and be able to utilise the Work Systems Framework to analyse processes in organisational knowledge and information flows

Knowledge Management Systems

Lecture content:

  • data mining and data warehousing
  • artificial intelligence
  • knowledge management systems
  • group decision support systems

Outcomes: In this module students learn to:

  • understand the fundamentals and usage of artificial intelligence for knowledge management systems
  • understand the fundamentals of data science in service of knowledge discovery systems
  • advise organisations on the selection of suitable software to support organisational knowledge management systems
  • work together on a group decision task using a decision support system
  • advise organisations on appropriate decision support systems given the project ecology

Knowledge Management Practice

Lecture content:

  • introduction to the Knowledge Modelling and Description Language
  • demonstration of the Modelangelo modelling software
  • analysis of business cases of knowledge management practice

Outcomes: In this module students:

  • are introduced to a particular modelling language for knowledge intensive business processes
  • perform basic modelling using provided software
  • analyse Knowledge Management Practices in a case or an organisation with the help of modelling tools

Integrated Evaluation

Content: The module consists of a project in which the student has to either (a) produce a viable research proposal for a M.Phil thesis based on what was learned throughout the course, or (b) complete a multi-part assignment that applies the theories and principles from the course to his/her own organisation.

In both cases the student should strive to:

  • integrate various theories and principles into coherent analytical tools
  • superimpose tools on real life processes in a scientific way
  • draw conclusions and interpret those conclusions in light of accepted theory
  • present findings in a reasoned format and to engage in constructive debate about them

Entry Requirements

The entry point for all entrants is the Programme in KISM (NQF level 8). Satisfactory completion of the Programme in KISM is the entry requirement for the MPhil (IKM) (NQF level 9). The entry requirements for the Programme in KISM are the following:

  1. Your minimum academic qualification is at NQF level 7 or the equivalent outside SA. In other words, you have to hold a Bachelors degree from a SA university, or a Bachelors degree from a non-SA university that is recognised by the SA National Qualifications Authority.
  2. Your CV shows that you have at least 4 years full time employment experience. The KISM is not for people who start out on their career path, it requires work experience.
  3. You are in an employment context that is conducive to learning. Many of the assignments require the application of theories to your actual work context.
  4. Your academic profile shows postgraduate potential. As a general norm we require at least a 60% average in your previous degree studies. Your study record should demonstrate that you have a reasonable chance of success at postgraduate level.

What if you do not hold a NQF 7 level qualification, but do hold a higher NQF level qualification (or the equivalent from a non-SA institution)? If you hold a qualification at NQF levels 8, 9 or 10 (or equivalent from a non-SA institution), you are eligible, provided the Director of the KISM performs a screening with a positive outcome.

Programme Enquiries

Dr Christiaan Maasdorp (Programme Coordinator)
[email protected]