Adaptation and Context
Edited by Anders Örtenblad
Chapter 6: The Australian Army’s knowledge management strategy: a reflexive organizational approach to knowledge capture and sharing
The Australian Army operates in a highly complex, dynamic environment continually exposed to new and varied challenges as it strives to deliver the Australian Government’s strategic requirements. In response to these challenges and requirements, numerous documents within the Army organization acknowledge the need to foster systems, processes and structures that promote organizational agility, work in concert with cultural conditions and support continuous improvement. These documents note the extent to which continuous improvement can be realized through: ● the Army’s ability to unleash its human potential by allowing its personnel to demonstrate initiative ● leadership behaviors that advance learning at individual, team and organizational levels ● sound and responsive mechanisms to facilitate knowledge creation, capture and transfer. In regard to this final point, there is an organizational and operational imperative to generate a strong knowledge management (KM) capability in order to provide leaders with current, valid and reliable knowledge upon which effective decisions can be based. If KM is about getting the ‘right information to the right people at the right time’ (Department of Defence 2011), poor KM practices can lead to disastrous consequences. As Thomas et al. assert, ‘good ideas have high currency when lives are at stake’ (2001, p. 333). KM in the Australian Army is an ongoing area of development, and to appreciate the work to date and the Army’s current KM situation, it is necessary to examine the development of KM within the Army and its significance to other major reforms and initiatives.
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