Purpose – This paper aims to present an exploration of the contributions of the military organization to knowledge‐based development within and beyond the boundaries of its home country. Design/methodology/approach – After first defining knowledge, several frames of reference for considering knowledge are presented. Then the nature of contributions to societal knowledge from military organizations is explored, with a focus on leadership and values as knowledge contributions. A large part of this paper is a case study which introduces the core values of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and looks at SAF's knowledge contributions to the city‐state of Singapore and Singapore's allies and regional neighbors. Findings – The knowledge and learning that occur in military organizations are entangled with the knowledge and learning of the country they serve, in terms of both individuals moving through the military setting and back into society, and the military organization's larger knowledge contributions made in service to its citizens. Using SAF, specific examples are cited that support the movement of knowledge from the military to the public and private sectors and enhance the growth of knowledge‐based development. The strong values needed for effective military defense clearly carry over to the nation's civilian needs in terms of leadership. Originality/value – The paper takes a unique approach to exploring the role of military organizations and personnel in knowledge‐based development of the country they serve, intertwining descriptions of military values and knowledge with individual examples of leaders who move from the SAF to the public and private sectors, and stories provided by current and past SAF leaders. A new conceptual model of the relationship between moral values and knowledge is introduced.
Journal of Knowledge Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 6, 2010
Keywords: Knowledge management; Social values; Leadership; Armed forces; Singapore
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