- Building: Elisabeth Murdoch Building
- Road: Spencer Road
- Campus: Parkville
I have been educated on three continents. My undergraduate studies and teacher education training took place in Germany; my Master's degree was undertaken at The University of Sydney, Australia, and doctoral studies took me to the University of Illinois, USA.
At its most basic, my research program can be described as wanting to understand how people learn and acquire knowledge, both about the external world but also about their inner world, and what evidence we have to support our claims to know. From my philosophically naturalist position, these issues can best be answered by studying how the brain works as researched in cognitive neuroscience as well as by neurophilosophy which uses scientific knowledge to understand what minds are. Since everything we do, from riding bicycles to running organizations, presumes a mind that is embodied (part of our physical body) and embedded (in social and natural environments that are affected by our minds but also shape them in turn) domains of application are in principle limitless. For my part, much of my work was done in the area of educational administration (administrative science) and more recently in management and organization studies.
Topics of particular interest are the following, and I list some of the many questions that I study in each area:
Theories of Organizational Learning (e.g. How do individuals and organizations actually learn, if organizations can be said to learn at all? What models of learning underpin contemporary theorizing, and are they compatible with our current scientific knowledge of knowledge acquisition and transmission?)
Leadership Studies (e.g. Can leadership be learnt, and is there such a thing as leadership anyway, or does it turn out to be a methodological artefact?)
Organizational Culture and Change (How is "culture" learnt, and what is it? How do we know about organizational culture; how does it "show"? And why is organizational change so slow?)
The Training of Managers and Administrators. (e.g. How might our understanding of brain architecture and function in terms of parallel distributed processing and artificial neural nets affect the preparation of administrators and managers, in public and private sector organizations? Since we acquire all our knowledge tacitly in the first instance, how should we structure learning situations that incorporate such knowledge?)
Knowledge Management. (e.g. KM as a new tool for managing organizational development and change places particular emphasis on the human ability to codify and represent knowledge. How should we now think of knowledge, given that codification is important but does not "capture" what is commonly described as tacit knowledge?)
Much of the above work has been conducted with, and grown out of, a substantive research program conducted with Professor Colin Evers of the University of New South Wales.
This research program, known as naturalistic coherentism, can be described as a systematic attempt to develop a new conceptual framework for dealing with the central themes of educational administration. Three features have been covered in three books: (1) the nature of administrative theory; (2) an account of administrative practice; (3) consequences of the first two features for theorizing and doing educational administration.
Evers, C.W. and Lakomski, G. Knowing Educational Administration, was published in 1991 by Pergamon Press, Oxford. This book deals mainly with administrative theory and how it is influenced by theories of knowledge.
Evers, C.W. And Lakomski, G. Exploring Educational Administration: Coherentist Applications and Critical Debates, Pergamon Press, Oxford, appeared in December 1996. This book contains some second thoughts on our theory of theories, some attempts to show its significance for developing an account of educational administration, and some first thoughts on a theory of practice.
Evers, C.W. And Lakomski, G. Doing Educational Administration: Coherentist Naturalism into Administrative Practice was also published by Pergamon/Elsevier and appeared in May 2000. The book attempts to work out in more detail a view of administrative practice by extending the epistemology of earlier work to cover practical knowledge. It provides some examples of administrative practice such as natural decision-making, ethical practice, administrator training, and leadership.
Keeves, J.P. and Lakomski, G (eds.) Issues in Educational Research. This text, published by Pergamon/Elsevier, Oxford, in 1999 presents up to date information and critical debates across a variety of methodological issues and should be of particular interest to researchers and graduate students in the social sciences.
Lakomski, G (2005). Managing Without Leadership Towards a Theory of Organizational Functioning. This book argues that theories of leadership do not account for organizational practice. Organizational life is messy and complex and those in positions of leadership, no matter how exceptional, are neither omniscient nor infallible. Rather than continue the study of leaders and leadership it is more productive to develop a causal, ground-up, account of organizational functioning that replaces top–down theories of leadership. Such a naturalistic account includes leaders as part and parcel of the cognitive fabric of organizational life in which they are always embedded.