Associate Professor Bernard McKenna

Associate Professor

School of Business
Faculty of Business, Economics and Law


Bernard McKenna is an Associate Professor in the UQ Business School. Prior to his appointment in 2002 he was in QUT's Business Faculty for nine years.

His research interest include

(a) Applying Wisdom Principles to Management and Leadership;

(b) Sustainability De-Growth and Regenerativity creating new forms of political economy;

(c) Corporate Social Responsibility;

(d) Analysing discourse (how language creates and maintains particular realities and relationships) particularly in political and corporate rhetoric (eg, greenwashing).

He is currently supervising five PhD theses: The impact of rising Islamism on Indonesian women leaders; Developing values-based practice in a rules based organisation - Australian Defence Forces; Family Business Succession Planning in Nigeria; Whistleblowing in the Indonesian Accounting Profession; and A Class Based Understanding Of Public Sector Job Losses Due to Austerity Budgets.

Bernard is on the Editorial Board of Business Ethics: European Review; Management Communication Quarterly, Journal of Management and Communication, and the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication. He has successfully won and completed two ARC Linkage Grants: one dealt with the role of communication in community building by mining companies; the other was concerned with citizen involvement in public policy (waste management). He has also worked with the Queensland Police Force on leadership.

Bernard is also interested in working across cultures. He has presented research workshops in Indonesia, India, and Iran. Currently, he is collaborating with a number of Indian and Iranian academics particularly in wisdom and leadership.

Bernard is a highly respected teacher who uses innovative methods based on a pedagogy he has developed to enhance embodied virtuous leadership. He has produced a 10-lecture module for the Micro-Masters MOOC program, Leading in a Complex Environment, and has won a teaching award for Blended Learning. His teaching background covers leadership, communication theory, political communication, organisational communication, business and society, and business ethics at graduate and undergraduate levels.

Bernard is also active within the UQ community as an elected member of the Academic Board, Deputy Chair of the Faculty LNR Ethics Committee, member of Academic Board Standing Committee, and elected national representative to the Unisuper Consultative Committee.

He also frequently consults to the private and public sector.

Research Interests

  • Wisdom
    Philosophy of wisdom Wisdom in Management Measuring wisdom
  • Critical Theory
    Critical Discourse Theory Linguistics Discourse
  • Political Communication
  • Sustainability
    Degrowth Global Extinction

Research Impacts

Bernard has published 45 refereed journal articles and 31 book chapters, and he has been cited over 1800 times. He has a h-index of 23 (as of October 2019).

Bernard's major research interest for the past ten years has centred on Wisdom in Leadership and Organisations. From this research he has co-authored Managing Wisdom in the Knowledge Economy.(Routledge), as well as 16 book chapters and 18 journal articles. His most recent contribution was a chapter on Wisdom in Leadership in Glück & Sternberg's (2019) Cambridge Handbook of Wisdom. He is also profoundly concerned about global environmental sustainability.


  • Master of Philosophy, Griffith University
  • Bachelor of Arts, The University of Queensland
  • Diploma of Teaching, Queensland University of Technology
  • Bachelor of Education, Queensland University of Technology
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland


View all Publications


  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision



Book Chapter

  • Intezari, Ali and McKenna, Bernard (2018). Creating organizational culture. Leadership: regional and global perspectives. (pp. 160-189) Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

  • McKenna, Bernard and Intezari, Ali (2018). Power, politics and influence. Leadership: regional and global perspectives. (pp. 190-218) Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

  • McKenna, Bernard (2017). Aging and ethics. Springer encyclopedia of business and professional ethics. (pp. 1-5) edited by Deborah C. Poff and Alex C. Michalos. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-23514-1_171-1

  • McKenna, Bernard (2017). Embodying a wise graduate disposition in business school education. Wisdom learning: perspectives on wising-up business and management education. (pp. 41-61) edited by Wendelin Küpers and Olen Gunnlaugson. London, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315547039

  • McKenna, Bernard (2017). Management. The international encyclopedia of organizational communication. edited by Craig R. Scott, Laurie Lewis, James R. Barker, Joann Keyton, Timothy Kuhn and Paaige K. Turner. Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley Blackwell. doi: 10.1002/9781118955567

  • Fein, Erich C., McKenna, Bernard, Bernobic, Iris and Ahmed, Ezaz (2017). Mapping smart power onto the cardinal virtues and cross-cultural leadership dimensions. Redefining management: smart power perspectives. (pp. 107-125) edited by Varda Muhlbauer and Wes Harry. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-69209-8_7

  • McKenna, Bernard (2017). Work-life balance. Springer encyclopedia of business and professional ethics. (pp. 1-4) edited by Deborah C. Poff and Alex C. Michalos. Heidelberg: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-23514-1_176-1

  • McKenna, Bernard, Biloslavo, Roberto and Trnavcevic, Anita (2016). Wisdom in praxis: how engineers use practical wisdom in their decision making. Practical wisdom in the age of technology: insights, issues, and questions for a new millennium. (pp. 79-100) edited by Nikung Dalal, Ali Intezari and Marty H. Heitz. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Smith, Lauren, McKenna, Bernard and Rooney, David (2014). Reconceptualizing business education for knowledge work: comparing corporate cults and highly effective organizations. The new development paradigm: education, knowledge economy and digital futures. (pp. 145-160) edited by Michael A. Peters, Tina Besley and Daniel Araya. New York, United States: Peter Lang.

  • Biloslavo, Roberto and McKenna, Bernard (2013). Evaluating the process of wisdom in wise political leaders using a developmental wisdom model. A Handbook of Practical Wisdom: Leadership, Organization and Integral Business Practice. (pp. 111-132) edited by Wendelin Küpers and David J. Purleen. Farnham, Surrey, UK: Gower Publishing. doi: 10.4324/9781315564814

  • McKenna, Bernard (2013). The multi-dimensional character of wisdom. Wise management in organisational complexity. (pp. 13-33) edited by Mike J. Thompson and David Bevan. London, United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1057/9781137002655_2

  • McKenna, Bernard, Callan, Victor J. and Gallois, Cindy (2012). Comparing organizational and business communication. The Handbook of Comparative Communication Research. (pp. 48-63) edited by Frank Esser and Thomas Hanitzsch. New York and London: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780203149102-11

  • McKenna, Bernard and Rooney, David (2012). Wise face of organizations. The new faces of organizations in the 21st century: A management and business reference book. (pp. 243-272) edited by Mohammad Ali Sarlak. Toronto, ON, Canada: NAISIT Publishers.

  • Parsons, R. and McKenna, B. J. (2009). Constructing social responsibility through corporate sustainability reporting. Critical Discourse Analysis: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. (pp. 183-200) edited by Thao Le and Megan Short. New York: Nova Science.

  • McKenna, B. (2008). Communication as an academic field: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Rim. The International Encyclopedia of Communication. (pp. 121-127) edited by Wolfgang Donsbach. Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell Publishing.

  • McKenna, B. (2008). Introduction. Towards Humane Technologies: Biotechnology, New Media and Ethics. (pp. 7-14) edited by Sunderland, N., Graham, P., Isaacs, P. and McKenna, B.. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

  • Rooney, David, McKenna, Bernard, Liesch, Peter and Boal, Kim (2008). Snapshot: Knowledge in the absence of wisdom. The Sage Handbook of New Approaches in Management and Organization. (pp. 344-345) edited by Barry, D. and Hansen, H.. London, UK: Sage Publications. doi: 10.4135/9781849200394.n58

  • McKenna, Bernard, Rooney, David and Breit, Rhonda (2008). The role of media in the knowledge economy. Knowledge policy: Challenges for the 21st century. (pp. 98-106) edited by Greg Hearn and David Rooney. Cheltenham, U.K.: Edward Elgar.

  • McKenna, B. (2007). Sure, she's a scientist, but can she take neat notes and arrange morning tea?. Management Communication: New Zealand and Australian case studies. (pp. 40-49) edited by Page, D. J. and Zorn, T. E.. North Shore, New Zealand: Pearson Education New Zealand.

  • McKenna, B. (2005). Wisdom, ethics and the postmodern organization. Handbook on the knowledge economy. (pp. 37-53) edited by David Rooney, Greg Hearn and Abraham Ninan. Cheltenham, U.K.: Edward Elgar.

  • McKenna, B. (2002). Hype about hypertext. Research and Practice in Professional Discourse. (pp. 609-637) edited by C. Candlin. Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong Press.

  • McKenna, Bernard (2001). Critical discourse method: Tracking the ideological shift in Australian Labor governments 1983-1986. Change and Continuity in Applied Linguistics. Selected Papers from the Annual Meeting of the British Association for Applied Linguistics (Edinburgh, Scotland, September 1999). British Studies in Applied Linguistics 15.. (pp. x-x) edited by Hugh Trappes-Lomax. Clevedon, Buffalo: British Association for Applied Linguistics in association with Multilingual Matters.

  • McKenna, Bernard (2001). Labour responses to globalization: The Australian experience. Work and employment in a globalized era: An Asia Pacific Focus. (pp. 71-104) edited by Debrah, Yaw A. and Smith, Ian G.. London: Frank Cass.

  • McKenna, B. (2001). Producing a civil society in a postmodern world. Ethics for Australian Business. (pp. 83-102) edited by J. Harrison. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Prentice Hall.

  • Patti, C., McKenna, B., Thomas, G. and Renforth, B. (2000). An external communication audit of a superannuation company. Auditing organisational communication. (pp. 255-271) edited by Owen Hargie and Dennis Tourish. London , U.K.: Routledge.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision