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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Knowledge Managers of Successful Firms: An Educational Model for Post-literate Societies

Paul Kauffman, Duncan Kauffman.

Naomi Klein in No Logo has provided a popular critique of globalization and the surrender of culture, education, choice, job satisfaction and security to multinational corporations. Tom Peters and Robert Waterman have identified some of the special qualities of successful firms since 1982 and Peter Drucker has written extensively about the modern manager as 'knowledge worker'. A role for diversity policies and programs in economic success has been identified (Kauffman 2002).

The paper investigates various definitions of 'success' for multinational firms and surveys the multicultural workforces of those firms; their gender diversity, the qualifications, experience and special qualities of top managers. It draws on questionnaires and in-depth interviews with senior executives of successful firms, to investigate the role of knowledge-management in that success, the key characteristics of a new knowledge-management, and its educational implications.

The six years from 1998 to 2003 saw the expansion and contraction of many multinational and transnational firms, and continuing growth of others. The paper then constructs an educational model for a post-literate societies.

Three traditional models of education can be identified: the Greek ideal of developing the mind, body and soul, the renaissance model involved education in the classics, humanities and sciences, technological education, developed since the nineteenth century, for young men and women operating industrial nation states.

The global educational model for post-literate societies will involve secondary level competence in mathematics, science and literacy. It should include language education and life experience in a foreign culture, best-practice business and technological education, multicultural skills, the teaching of ethical behaviour and continuous learning.


Paul Kauffman  (Australia)
Adjunct Associate Professor, Advisor, ATSIC
Australian Centre for Regional and Local Government Studies
University of Canberra

Paul Kauffman has traveled with Australian indigenous leaders in North America and New Zealand.
He has administered indigenous housing, land, heritage and cultural programs since 1985.
He was appointed Associate Professor at the University of Canberra in 1997 and worked in multicultural affairs in Australia and at the OECD in Europe in 2000-2002. He has investigated diversity and international business in North America and Europe.
His recent books are Wik, Mining and Aborigines Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1998, and Travelling Aboriginal Australia: Discovery and Reconciliation Hyland House, Melburne, 2000.
Memberships: FAIM, FASA, ISA, AIATSIS.

Duncan Kauffman  (Australia)

  • Knowledge managers
  • Successful multinational firms
  • Global educational model

(30 min Conference Paper, English)