Exploring Constraints on Developing Knowledge: On the Need for Conflict

Nic Beech, Robert MacIntosh, Donald MacLean, Jill Shepherd, John Stokes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    This article explores some of the constraints on the development of knowledge through a multi-perspective examination of a project where there was an intention, and enacted process, to develop knowledge. Building on prior work in the fields of knowledge and knowledge management, the article is engaged with the generic question of what the conditions that facilitate knowledge creation in organizations are. However, the approach adopted here is not to focus on success stories, but to develop an understanding of constraining factors through an examination of an example of apparent failure and the absence of new knowledge. A detailed multi-perspective exploration of a particular organizational episode is provided. Data from this episode are considered from three theoretical perspectives: psychodynamics, social construction and complexity theory. This multi-perspective exploration highlights the need for conflict in organizational settings where new knowledge is at least supposed to be being developed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)459-475
    Number of pages17
    JournalManagement Learning
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002


    • Complexity theory
    • Conflict
    • Knowledge management
    • Multi-perspectives
    • Psychodynamics
    • Social construction

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Management of Technology and Innovation
    • Strategy and Management
    • General Decision Sciences


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