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


  • Keith Koon Teng Toh School of Management RMIT University
  • Brian Corbitt RMIT University
  • Jenine Beekhuyzen Griffith University




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


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.

Author Biographies

Keith Koon Teng Toh, School of Management RMIT University

Dr. Keith Toh is a lecturer in the School of Management at RMIT University. Keith is also a member of the Health Innovations Research Institute. Keith developed his research in topic areas such as community resilience and military and emergency organisations. Keith's professional experience was in information modelling and software design, whilst working at Fujitsu Services (UK). He retains a keen interest in systems modelling architectures and methodologies such as UML, Zachman Framework, TOGAF, SSADM, Rational Unified Process and RM-ODP.

Brian Corbitt, RMIT University

Professor Brian Corbitt is professor of Information Systems and Professor Mentor in the College of Business at RMIT University. He has published over 200 journal and conference papers, and 7 books on eBusiness, and eGovernment. He has been a Dean, or a university Vice President/Pro Vice Chancellor, or Head of Department/School continuously over the past 15 years. Professor Corbitt has worked for various Asian Governments and to the Government of New Zealand in developing eBusiness and Information Policy.

Jenine Beekhuyzen, Griffith University

Dr. Jenine Beekhuyzen is a lecturer at Griffiths University with 12 years of research experience across a number of government, industry and university projects, and 8 years experience in training in qualitative research software and methods. Her qualifications include a PhD in Information Systems, Bachelor of Information Technology with 1st class Honours, a Graduate Certificate of Research Management, and a Diploma of Business. Jenine is also currently an Adjunct Professor with the Institute of Integrated and Intelligent Systems at Griffith University and lectures in the Information Technology programmes. Jenine has published over 50 articles in refereed journals, conferences and books, and coauthored a textbook on ERP implementation which appeared on the list of the top ten textbooks for the Ideas Group in 2006.




How to Cite

Toh, K. K. T., Corbitt, B., & Beekhuyzen, J. (2014). A Knowledge Management Model to Improve the Development of Bushfire Communication Products. Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 18(3). https://doi.org/10.3127/ajis.v18i3.911