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Epistemic influences on knowledge translation in healthcare: The mediating role of social networks

Scarbrough, H. ORCID: 0000-0002-3820-8339 & Swan, J. (2019). Epistemic influences on knowledge translation in healthcare: The mediating role of social networks. AOM 2019: Understanding the Inclusive Organization - 79th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, 2019, doi: 10.5465/AMBPP.2019.113


Previous work has highlighted the direct effect of epistemic differences between groups on knowledge translation work. In this paper, we ask whether such differences in the 'ways of knowing' amongst expert groups may also have an indirect effect on knowledge translation efforts by shaping the social network ties which are formed between groups. Our empirical study of a major knowledge translation initiative in the English NHS (National Health Service) is based on a social network analysis of the ties between groups. It shows that epistemic differences are reflected in homophilous patterns of social ties - i.e. members of expert groups tending to share knowledge with each other. Academic groups, and especially social scientists, exhibit more inward-looking patterns of networking. Individuals with multi- disciplinary expertise were found to be more likely to act as the boundary-spanners between groups. Over time, members of the health sciences discipline helped to provide a bridge between social scientists and healthcare practitioner groups (clinicians and managers). Our study makes several contributions to theoretical and practical understandings of knowledge translation in healthcare by not only showing how epistemic differences may indirectly impact such work via their structuring of social networks, but also providing evidence on the multi-disciplinary expertise in determining the boundary-spanning position of individuals

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
[thumbnail of AoM 2019 HCM best paper1.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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