Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Management Information Systems


Faculty of Business and Public Management

First Supervisor

Dr Mark Campbell Williams


This thesis reports on my attempts to 're-align' the purpose, behaviour and underlying culture of a large military organisation through heuristic, self reflective enquiry - to 'find its future' - with and through its people. I use the word re-align with great care as I recognised that change would have been too ambitious and would (probably have) result(ed) in failure. Whilst I cannot claim total success, I have made new and valuable discoveries in knowledge elicitation and methods of integrating the views of a large number of people to 'build and reinforce consensus around initiatives for change'. In the process of completing this research I developed a novel approach to strategic planning/policy making that advances the ends, ways and means construct of decision-making into a purer and more refined approach. One that anchors these elements firmly to the organisation and its environment simultaneously through a knowledge management system, enabling the strengths and weaknesses within the organisation to be drawn into sharp focus - an effects based planning approach. I have also fused together the more systematic and disciplined approaches embodied within a knowledge management system with existing and more creative scenario planning/future focussed methods. Thus allowing organisations to undertake 'self-constructed' audits that have an immediate interest or are situated well into their future, doubling its value as a planning device. As I report, the methods have been presented at the highest levels of Defence, attracting interest from the Australian Minister of Defence. The New Zealand Defence Force, Naval Warfare Development Command of the United States Navy and Australia's Chief of Air Force have also expressed an interest in the potential of an effects-based orientation to planning and policy-making. Whether the concepts and underpinning ideas become established, leading to the discovery of a post-modem military is uncertain. What is clear is that there is a definite move away from a pre-occupation with the means, or the things that are done, towards a more comprehensive understanding of what are we trying to make happen as a guiding principle. This is certainly of value within military 'organisations and has potential for others involved in complex problem-solving in social settings. A heuristic, self-reflective approach has enriched this search for focussed and 'change-finding' knowledge, allowing a more purposeful, complete and forthright account of the involvement of others.