Presentation Details

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

Cross Cultural Exchange of Change Effective Knowledge: Bridging the knowledge exchange gap between Indigenous Cultures and Bureaucratic Cultures

Bill Boyd, Wendy Ann Laird.

Efficient and accurate exchange of knowledge between bureaucratic and Indigenous cultures is essential to effect beneficial social change. However, the culture of knowledge exchange and communication in such groups differs significantly. Indigenous cultures have complex rules relating to who is permitted to provide, exchange, receive and communicate knowledge. Bureaucratic cultures are constrained by politics and hierarchy, and engender distinctive formal communication styles. Activation of change can be limited by the distortion of the process of acquisition and sharing of knowledge in response to organization structural requirements.

A project to design the best models to meet Indigenous crisis accommodation needs and homelessness in Northern New South Wales, generated an interface between Indigenous groups and individuals and service providers. The knowledge of needs was clearly communicated by the Indigenous groups, and Indigenous service personnel were readily able to access and understand that knowledge. However, whilst given access to the knowledge the non-Indigenous service providers were not readily able to understand the complexity of that knowledge. This knowledge did not successfully survive transfer and translation into bureaucratic requirements of reporting, policy and programme development, despite good will and funding by the government agency. Implementation of the service was likewise constrained by the mismatch between bureaucratic and Indigenous cultural requirements. Whilst the project successfully gathered knowledge, the cultural divide was not bridged, and beneficial change from this project is currently constrained.

Successful social change relies on Indigenous cultures and bureaucratic cultures
acknowledging, respecting and working with each others culturally constrained ability to exchange knowledge.


Bill Boyd  (Australia)
Associate Professor In Geography
Environmental Science and Management
Southern Cross University

Bill Boyd has been a University scholar for over two decades, teaching and researching across a range of geographical subjects, including cultural and heritage studies. He currently works in Australia, PNG and SE Asia.

Wendy Ann Laird  (Australia)

Southern Cross University

  • Aboriginal housing
  • Homelessness
  • Cross-cultural communication
  • Government
  • Disadvantaged communities

(Virtual Presentation, English)