Gabriele Lakomski

Professorial Fellow

Melbourne CSHE

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.

Gabi Lakomski

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.

Knowing 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.

Exploring Educational Administration

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.

Doing Educational Administration

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.

Issues in Educational Research

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.