Free Technology for the Support of Community Action Groups: Theory, Technology and Practice

Knowledge Cities World Summit, Melbourne, Australia, November 16-19, 2010

24 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2011  

William P. Hall

University of Melbourne - Melbourne School of Engineering; Kororoit Institute

Susu Nousala

Aalto University; University of Melbourne

Russell Best

Victoria University

Date Written: November 1, 2010


Purpose – Urban areas are administratively complex, and bureaucrats are often overburdened, which means they are often working at what Herbert Simon called the bounds of their rationality. Thus, responsible bureaucrats may have little genuine knowledge of issues within their briefs that impact community members. Groups concerned with such issues may emerge in the community. Given their focus, members of such groups will have issue-related local knowledge; and probably also the time and effort to share and assemble such personal knowledge into practical and informative group proposals. This paper reviews this situation and demonstrates how simple to use and freely available socio-technical tools can be applied to support knowledge based community action.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper provides a theoretical framework for community action, discusses some of the revolutionary cognitive technologies that provide tools for implementing the framework, and presents a template based on two of Google’s cloud computing applications: Google Sites and Google Docs to demonstrate how the technology can be used (see “Template for Knowledge-Based Community Organizations”).

Originality/value – The theoretical framework is new, and we are unaware that such an approach towards the support of community action groups has been previously documented.

Practical implications – The generic tools demonstrated are free and may be used by anyone with an internet connection and a Web browser. They provide action and other social groups with simple yet sophisticated tools to collect, and assemble personal knowledge; and to transform it into community knowledge. Properly used, the tools can provide bureaucrats with the necessary background knowledge to make rational decisions about allocation of resources, etc. to deal with various kinds of situations. The template developed for this project demonstrates capabilities of the cloud computing tools.

Keywords: Social Technology, Community Knowledge Management, Cloud Computing, Organization Theory, Bounded Rationality

JEL Classification: O33, D73, D83, H11, Q20, Q30, R14, R41, R52

Suggested Citation

Hall, William P. and Nousala, Susu and Best, Russell, Free Technology for the Support of Community Action Groups: Theory, Technology and Practice (November 1, 2010). Knowledge Cities World Summit, Melbourne, Australia, November 16-19, 2010. Available at SSRN:

William P. Hall (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Melbourne School of Engineering ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053


Kororoit Institute ( email )

127 Power Street
St Albans, Vic. 3021


Susu Nousala

Aalto University ( email )

P.O. Box 21210
Aalto, FI-00076

University of Melbourne ( email )

Melbourne, 3000

Russell Best

Victoria University ( email )

P.O. Box 14428
Melbourne City, Victoria 8001

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