Presentation Details

The Fourth International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organisations

Who Owns Knowledge?: Intellectual Property and Technology in a Global Age

Dr. John Betton.

This paper considers the emergence of a knowledge economy and knowledge based systems. Early work by Argyris and Senge emphasized that in a knowledge economy, learning systems were critical, not only to create the knowledge that added value to organizations, but to also facilitate the survival of organizations in turbulent environments.
When these concepts are expanded into a global context, different concerns emerge. If within a global context, knowledge is important, then knowledge also becomes a competitive product that, rather than being shared globally, in the way that scientific information may (however imperfectly) be shared as knowledge within a public domain accessible by anyone, becomes knowledge that is "owned" in the way that organizations "own" machines, equipment and buildings. At whatever level of intangibility "knowledge" is considered, dialogue, ideas, conversation and private knowledge do seem to operate in a different to domain to knowledge of science. In a global context knowledge as intellectual property is used in an exclusionary way via global rules that seek to exclude by protection


Dr. John Betton  (United States)
Professor of Management

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Dr. John Betton is professor of comparative management systems and teaches in the area of international management, change management and human rights. He has published in leading journals including Academy of Management Review, Labor law journal and Management Education

  • Global Knowledge
  • Intellectual Property rules

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)