Presentation Details

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

Academic Knowledge Mismanagement and the Destruction of Social Capital in Societies

Dr John Winchester.

The research evidence in Australia is that more and more communities are showing signs of intergenerational marginalisation. These communities rather than being sources of cultural and economic-wealth creation for the Nation have become cost centres for taxpayer funded social interventions. The evidence is that despite massive investment in service provision the social situation continues to deteriorate.
This state of affairs has partly arisen due to the failure of the university sector to adjust their ‘academic’ practices to knowledge management ideals. The birth of the modern university was strongly influenced by the incredible growth of scientific discovery that accompanied and drove the industrial revolution. A feature of the expansion of knowledge that occurred in this time was the ever reduction of knowledge into disciples, sub disciplines and sub-sub disciplines. This phenomenon continues unabated. The structure of universities models knowledge reductionism. Knowledge is managed within various schools, sub departments within each of these schools and is further reduced in courses offered by a range of faculties that operate within each of these departments. Reductionist specialised knowledge is necessary for academic advancement and best practice knowledge management. It is not sufficient.
Contemporary knowledge management approaches emphasise the importance of managing interdisciplinary knowledgeable transactions within and between stakeholders in businesses and institutions that are related in value adding activities. The purposes of such strategies are to reduce costs and create more and more value with the same or fewer resources.
Strategic renewal of universities in terms of how they manage knowledgeable transactions between people in complex and dynamic social systems is urgently required. Such reforms are the biggest challenges governments must face if they are to democratically produce sustainable socio-cultural and economic wealth creation possibilities for 21st century societies.


Dr John Winchester  (Australia)
Knowledge Management
Farthing West Pty Limited

Dr John Winchester is a Director of Farthing West Pty Limited. His expertise is in knowledge management. He regularly facilitates the activities of knowledge worker teams in major businesses to bring about improvement. John was a lead researcher in NSW Australia for the Federal Government's training reform agenda in investigating how people in the education, training and industry sectors could develop generic skills such as problem solving, team work, analysing data and driving improvement.

  • Knowledge management in supply chains

(60 min. Workshop, English)