Knowledge Management, Power and Conflict

  • Helena Heizmann


There is a pervasive tendency in knowledge management (KM) research and practice to downplay, ignore and/or simplify issues of power and conflict. This chapter draws out perspectives on power in the wider social sciences to allow for a richer and more nuanced understanding of the topic. Four layers of power are discussed in relation to contemporary debates on power and conflict in KM. The argument put forward in this chapter is that KM literature may benefit, in particular, from paying greater attention to the deeper layers of power referred to here as ‘process power’, ‘meaning power’ and ‘systemic power’. An examination of KM through these lenses calls into question consensus-based approaches that may mask underlying tensions between multiple divergent interests and—crucially—preclude questions into how power/knowledge relations shape the ethics, inclusiveness and democracy of organisational knowledge cultures.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Helena Heizmann
    • 1
  1. 1.UTS Business SchoolUniversity of Technology SydneyUltimoAustralia

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