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Organizational learning in an EIA agency

Sanchez, L. and Morrison-Saunders, A. (2010) Organizational learning in an EIA agency. In: IAIA10 Transitioning to the Green Economy, 30th Annual Conference of the International Association for Impact Assessment, 6 - 11 April, Geneva, Switzerland

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Government agencies in charge of managing the EIA process play a key role in fostering EIA effectiveness through knowledge management (KM) initiatives. In performing their tasks, these agencies create, share and apply knowledge and can learn from experience, arguably leading to better-informed decision-making. An evaluation of (KM) initiatives by a leading EIA agency in Western Australia was conducted based on document review, interviews and questionnaires. Knowledge repositories were mapped and their perceived usefulness for officials in charge of performing tasks of the EIA process were surveyed. Both information technology-based organizational memory systems and social networks are in use in the agency. In line with other studies, it was found that staff shows a preference for obtaining information from other people rather than from documents. However, as social networks are subject to decay as a consequence of staff turnover (a problem in the agency), other repositories are essential to retain memory. The case showed that the agency has been adopting a number of measures conducive to manage the organization's ability to learn, store and use collective knowledge in support of its core activities. Some of the solutions adopted could be valuable to EIA agencies in other jurisdictions.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
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