An Economy of Knowledge: Research, Architectural Practice and Knowledge (in) Translation



How does new knowledge ‘flow’ within an organisation? In this paper we report upon a case study in which ethnography is employed to render visible the ‘knowledge transfer’ (strategically redefined as ‘knowledge translation’) occurring between a PhD researcher and the members of the organisation in which he is ‘embedded’. In this case the PhD student is located within an architectural firm and an industry context that is not accustomed to housing researchers in its midst. The path of knowledge flow, or rather its translation, is not found to be smooth. Knowledge ‘flow’ happens only in leaks and trickles through the organisation. We discuss the implications of this case for how ethnographic research in a business context might be communicated to an audience who do not necessarily value scrutiny of this nature.