chapter  8
IKM as a tool of social inclusion
Pages 19

In the political rhetoric of the closing years of the twentieth century, the terms ‘social inclusion’ and ‘social exclusion’ must rank among those most often cited by those setting out priorities for government and, through it, for the delivery of public services. The theme of this book has, of course, been to explore the potential offered by adopting appropriate IKM strategies within a public sector operating context, on the basis that such a refocusing of organisational cultures and work practices are, in themselves, capable of delivering better public services. However, what should not be ignored, among the more traditionally constructed cost/benefit scenarios related to the changes proposed, is that moves towards the achievement of a public sector underpinned by IKM principles could potentially exacerbate ‘exclusion’ among some strands of society, or, more positively, act to counter this and promote an agenda of ‘inclusion’, capable of a tangible and positive impact upon society. The apparent contradictions outlined here reflect the inherent dilemma associated with the adoption of IKM: when it is properly thought out it can represent a major and beneficial opportunity for change, but the reverse of the IKM coin is that ill-considered and inadequately piloted change represents the threat of making things worse within this context, potentially even exacerbating exclusion.