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Knowledge management and effective university governance

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PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to describe the relationship between governance and knowledge management in an Australian university, paying attention to the ways in which the notions of knowledge, constructions of the role of governing councils and shared understandings about performance in committee roles, might impact on the university's future success. Design/methodology/approachEarl's taxonomy of knowledge is extended to reflect more recent literature and used as the framework of analysis for a qualitative case study which is based on observations and interview data garnered from key governance committees. FindingsThe paper illustrates that effective governance and strategic success are dependent on appropriate knowledge manipulation activities. The authors conclude that in the case example, the types of knowledge targeted are narrow and committee members are focused on processes that do not effectively enable the creation or transfer of knowledge. Research limitations/implicationsThis is a single case study and further research would be required in order to confirm the exploratory findings. Practical implicationsAn important shift in improving effective knowledge strategies in the organisation will involve the reconceptualisation of the role of knowledge in the university. Originality/valueThis paper makes two major contributions to the literature; the extension of Earl's typology to reflect current knowledge management literature, and the identification of a lack of knowledge management as a major weakness in university governance. The paper begins to unravel the practical issues that constrain strategic decision making.

Keywords: Australia; Governance; Knowledge management; Strategic management; Universities

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-10-23

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