Models for Describing Knowledge Sharing Practices: The Case Study of UK Hospitals

Student thesis: Phd


A successful knowledge sharing process must take various elements into account, in order to ensure a positive outcome. In such a context, knowledge sharing means, knowledge sharing governance mechanisms and knowledge sharing process are identified as the key elements and enablers for the best knowledge sharing practices. Therefore, integrating various factors related to knowledge sharing phenomenon is an important task, which is ignored in current studies. Hence, this research investigates the knowledge-sharing phenomenon from different perspectives with the aim of providing a comprehensive view of knowledge sharing practices. Key concepts from the literature, i.e. knowledge sharing means, governance mechanisms and process, are integrated into a model and the intrinsic relationship among them is explored to explain how and why a strong approach of knowledge sharing can be achieved.The proposed model of the study is then applied as a critical theoretical tool to investigate medical knowledge sharing practices in NHS Trusts. One of the main challenges that have been argued in the literature, in the context of NHS, is about understanding the ways that sharing medical knowledge can be implemented more effectively. This study thus provides evidence on the medical knowledge sharing approaches which have worked well, and those which have not, with the aim of supporting the NHS Trusts for a better way of sharing medical knowledge. While the main focus here is the case of NHS Trusts, the findings can be useful for other healthcare organisations elsewhere.This study undertakes its philosophical standpoint from the perspective of critical realism, and thus provides an example of the application of the research paradigm in empirical knowledge sharing research. Adopting a dominantly qualitative method, two NHS Trusts are selected to conduct an empirical study to explore medical knowledge sharing practices. Evidence from the study indicates that the proposed model of the study can be seen as a powerful diagnostic tool for understanding knowledge sharing phenomenon, because it can provide a powerful explanation of the motivations and actions of both human and non-human (e.g. ICT) actors who establish the elements of knowledge sharing practices.!This study adds to the body of knowledge via proposing a new way of finding a new set of answers to explain the knowledge sharing practices by developing a holistic model. By using this model, factors that influence the knowledge sharing practices can be investigated and identified under the same umbrella. It also sheds new light on our understanding of the nature of the inner workings of the knowledge sharing process. The four stages of the knowledge sharing process allow scholars to investigate knowledge sharing practices systematically from the pre-implementation stage to implementation and post-implementation stages. Each stage has its own nature; therefore, the causes of the success/ failure of knowledge sharing practices can be identified in deep detail. This concept can help to detect which actor(s) is the cause of strong/ weak approach of knowledge sharing, in what stage, and why.In terms of practical relevance, the proposed model of this study can help managers better understand knowledge sharing practices from different perspectives, and take a valuable insight as to how to choose the appropriate knowledge sharing means and governance mechanisms, in order to enable the medical knowledge sharing process more effectively and efficiently. We believe that the model can be applied as a diagnostic tool to determine the root causes of knowledge sharing problems and likely remedial actions.
Date of Award1 Aug 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorSharon Morgan (Supervisor) & Ping Gao (Supervisor)

Cite this