[ASC-list] The (blurry?) line between communication and knowledge sharing

Bicknell, David david.bicknell at agric.wa.gov.au
Tue Jul 15 00:59:36 UTC 2014

As an ‘extension officer’, I get rather pedantic (I prefer to be thought of as ‘semantic’, but hey…) about the use of these different terms. If communication is the sharing of meaning between two or more people, then most ‘communicators’ are actually ‘information sharers’, because many of them write and publish and get very second hand feedback. Old style educators fit this too, although trainers tend to be more ‘hands-on’.

A ‘knowledge broker’ could only be someone that works to Improve sharing and learning between two or more people, because knowledge is something that sits within a person’s head, and is understood by that person. It is not the thing that is written down or vocalised.

I use a definition of ‘extension’ that is closer the ‘change management’: An intentional and managed set of activities designed to lead to a distinct and desired behaviour change. This role uses any of the methodologies for change, including information, education, training, incentives, market based instruments, regulation and so-on.

So, are we out to change the world? Yes, that is a trick question. In which case, the ASC has a very inclusive and broad-ranging meaning to ‘Communicator’, and that is good. But, we should be careful about then using ‘communication’ to mean all those other things relating to effecting change.


David Bicknell

From: ASC-list [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Jennifer Metcalfe
Sent: Tuesday, 15 July 2014 3:59 AM
To: Michelle Kovacevic; asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
Subject: Re: [ASC-list] The (blurry?) line between communication and knowledge sharing

I’ve always thought that ‘knowledge broker’ was just a fancy term for communicator…
It was invented to make communication sound more important and palatable to those who don’t value the role properly…

Science communicators have a variety of roles and knowledge broker or manager is just one of those many roles… an important one, especially when facilitating the sharing of knowledge between scientists and others…


Jenni Metcalfe
PhD Student at University of Nottingham, Sociology Dept, UK, Feb-August, 2014
Universitas 21 exchange from the University of Queensland, Australia
Director, Econnect Communication, www.econnect.com.au<http://www.econnect.com.au/>
Mobile: UK +44 (0) 7473 109 685; or Australia +61 (0) 408 551 866
jenni at econnect.com.au<mailto:jenni at econnect.com.au>
skype: jenni.metcalfe
twitter: @JenniMet

From: ASC-list [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Michelle Kovacevic
Sent: Monday, 14 July 2014 7:17 AM
To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au<mailto:asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au>
Subject: [ASC-list] The (blurry?) line between communication and knowledge sharing

Hi ASC-ers,

Over the past few months I've been introduced to the concepts of knowledge management and knowledge sharing, but to be honest I still don't know where the the role of "communicator" ends and "knowledge manager/sharer/broker" begins.

It seems one of the postulated differences is that communication is a "one-way" process of information provision and passive reception, whereas knowledge sharing is more of holistic process, connecting users and producers of information (knowledge? semantics?) so they can co-create a "knowledge product" that serves multiple needs.

To date, my job as a "science communicator" has involved aspects of writing, editing, multimedia, project management, education, data management, training, PR and research, amongst other things.

To me, effective communication cannot be defined a passive, one way process if it truly wishes to be effective and I don't think, as a science communicator, I have ever practiced it as such.

Would be keen for the community's thoughts on whether we should be calling ourselves communicators vs when we might be knowledge managers/brokers? Or does it even matter what we call ourselves?



Michelle Kovacevic
Communicator. Educator. Project Manager. Scientist. Creative Thinker.
michellekovacevic.com<http://michellekovacevic.com> (beta)
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