The role of organisational capacity in the knowledge-based transformation of Brisbane, Australia

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

McCartney, R, Yigitcanlar, T & Keast, RL 2010, 'The role of organisational capacity in the knowledge-based transformation of Brisbane, Australia', in T Yigitcanlar, P Yates & K Kunzmann (eds), Third Knowledge Cities World Summit : From Theory to Practice, Melbourne, Vic., 16-19 November, World Capital Institute, Melbourne, Vic., pp. 854-863. ISBN: 9780646546551


Purpose - The cumulative impacts of the knowledge economy together with the emerging dominance of knowledge-intensive sectors, have led to an unprecedented period of socio-economic and spatial restructuring. As a result, the paradigm of knowledge-based urban development (KBUD) has emerged as a development strategy to guide knowledge-based economic transformation (Knight, 1995; Yigitcanlar, 2007). Notwithstanding widespread government commitment and financial investment, in many cases providing the enabling circumstances for KUBUD has proven a complicated task as institutional barriers remain. Researchers and practitioners advocate that the way organisations work and their institutional relationships, policies and programs, will have a significant impact on a regions capacity to achieve KBUD (Savitch, 1998; Savitch and Kantor, 2002; Keast and Mandell, 2009). In this context, building organisational capacity is critical to achieving institutional change and bring together all of the key actors and sources, for the successful development, adoption, and implementation of knowledge-based development of a city (Yigitcanlar, 2009).

Design/methodology/approach - There is a growing need to determine the complex inter-institutional arrangements and intra-organisational interactions required to advance urban development within the knowledge economy. In order to design organisational capacity-building strategies, the associated attributes of good capacity must first be identified. The paper, with its appraisal of knowledge-based urban development, scrutinises organisational capacity and institutional change in Brisbane. As part of the discussion of the case study findings, the paper describes the institutional relationships, policies, programs and funding streams, which are supporting KBUD in the region.

Originality/value - In consideration that there has been limited investigation into the institutional lineaments required to provide the enabling circumstances for KBUD, the broad aim of this paper is to discover some good organisational capacity attributes, achieved through a case study of Brisbane.

Practical implications - It is anticipated that the findings of the case study will contribute to moving the discussion on the complex inter-institutional arrangements and intra-organisaational interactions required for KBUD, beyond a position of rhetoric.