A Knowledge Management Model to Improve the Development of Bushfire Communication Products

Keith Koon Teng Toh, Brian Corbitt, Jenine Beekhuyzen


This paper brings together two bodies of literature around knowledge management (KM) as enterprise integration (EI) and organisational ontology and epistemology as philosophy, in order to develop an extended KM approach to the development of bushfire preparedness material in the Australian context. Knowledge Management (KM) in enterprise integration (EI) practice manifests as process-centric electronic document and records management solutions. Knowledge creation and organisational epistemology is viewed as a social process, but this is often left unrepresented by KM processes. The body of literature on KM tends to focus on organisational functionality and organisational KM that is based on EI ontology tends to be restricted by organisational functionality and process models. We argue that developing the KM-Model using subjectivist epistemology has a significant role in KM and organisational studies for emergency and disaster agencies. As part of the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) ‘Effective Communication and Communities’ project, bushfire communication materials were collected from all Australian States and Territories and analysed using NVivo, representing a knowledge base. Data sources including semi-structured interviews with bushfire agency staff, residents in bushfire-prone localities. Interview data was analysed using thematic analysis, and emergent themes were represented using UML as a platform independent representation of the extended knowledge domain that is capable of representation in a digital space. This work unites organisational ontology, organisational epistemology and EI; the different manifestations of KM. We theorise about how organisational epistemology itself forms as part of the knowledge, where currently there is a lacking of a satisfactory end-to-end framework. The KM lifecycle, therefore, is extended by incorporating the social research processes as part of organisational epistemology to include external audiences through the themes of locality types, place and roles of individuals as volunteers and agency staff. The practical implications are that qualitative methods and toolsets can be included as part of KM to improve the development and deployment of bushfire preparedness material.


Community Engagement; Organisational Ontology: Organisational Epistemology; Emergency Organisations; Bushfire Knowledge Base; Knowledge Management; Enterprise Integration

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3127/ajis.v18i3.911

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ISSN: Online: 1326-2238 Hard copy: 1449-8618
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