An integrated knowledge management framework for managing sustainability knowledge in the Australian infrastructure sector

Yuan, Mei (2011) An integrated knowledge management framework for managing sustainability knowledge in the Australian infrastructure sector. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


In Australia, it has been increasingly accepted that sustainability needs to be at the top of the agenda when contemplating infrastructure development. In practice however, many companies struggle to find effective ways to embrace sustainable ideas and implement them in real projects beyond minimum compliance. One of the reasons is the lack of underpinning knowledge and evidence to demonstrate and measure the linkage between sustainability implementations and the relevant outcomes. This is compounded by the fact that very often there are no common understandings between the stakeholders on sustainability and there is a big divide between research advancement and real-life applications. Therefore it is both feasible and timely to develop and expand the body of sustainability knowledge on infrastructure development and investigate better ways of communicating with and managing it within the infrastructure sector. Although knowledge management (KM) is a relatively new and emerging discipline, it has shown its value and promise in existing applications in the construction industry. Considering the existing KM mechanisms and tools employed in practice, this research is aimed at establishing a specific KM approach to facilitate sustainability knowledge identification, acquisition, sharing, maintenance and application within the infrastructure sector, and promote integrated decision-making for sustainable infrastructure development. A triangulation of questionnaire survey, semi-structured interviews and case studies was employed in this research to collect required qualitative and quantitative data. The research studied the unique characteristics of the infrastructure sector, the nature of sustainability knowledge, and evaluated and validated the critical elements, key processes, and priority issues of KM for the Australian infrastructure sector. A holistic KM framework was developed to set the overall context for managing sustainability knowledge in the infrastructure sector by outlining (1) the main aims and outcomes of managing sustainability knowledge, (2) the key knowledge activities, (3) effective KM strategies and instruments, and (4) KM enablers. Because of the highly project-oriented nature of the infrastructure sector, knowledge can only add value when it is being used in real projects. Implementation guidelines were developed to help the industry practitioners and project teams to apply sustainability knowledge and implement KM in infrastructure project scenarios. This research provides the Australian infrastructure sector with tools to better understand KM, helps the industry practitioners to prioritize attention on relevant sustainability issues, and recommends effective practices to manage sustainability knowledge, especially in real life implementation of infrastructure projects.

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ID Code: 46843
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Yang, Jun & Goonetilleke, Sobana
Keywords: infrastructure development, sustainability, knowledge management, project management
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Urban Development
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 03 Nov 2011 06:24
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2011 06:24

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