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Learning about knowledge management for improving environmental impact assessment in a government agency: The Western Australian experience

Sánchez, L.E. and Morrison-Saunders, A. (2011) Learning about knowledge management for improving environmental impact assessment in a government agency: The Western Australian experience. Journal of Environmental Management, 92 (9). pp. 2260-2271.

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    Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2011.04.010
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    Abstract

    How does knowledge management (KM) by a government agency responsible for environmental impact assessment (EIA) potentially contribute to better environmental assessment and management practice? Staff members at government agencies in charge of the EIA process are knowledge workers who perform judgement-oriented tasks highly reliant on individual expertise, but also grounded on the agency's knowledge accumulated over the years. Part of an agency's knowledge can be codified and stored in an organizational memory, but is subject to decay or loss if not properly managed. The EIA agency operating in Western Australia was used as a case study. Its KM initiatives were reviewed, knowledge repositories were identified and staff surveyed to gauge the utilisation and effectiveness of such repositories in enabling them to perform EIA tasks. Key elements of KM are the preparation of substantive guidance and spatial information management. It was found that treatment of cumulative impacts on the environment is very limited and information derived from project follow-up is not properly captured and stored, thus not used to create new knowledge and to improve practice and effectiveness. Other opportunities for improving organizational learning include the use of after-action reviews. The learning about knowledge management in EIA practice gained from Western Australian experience should be of value to agencies worldwide seeking to understand where best to direct their resources for their own knowledge repositories and environmental management practice.

    Publication Type: Journal Article
    Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
    Publisher: © Academic Press
    Copyright: 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
    URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/4560
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