An exploratory study of knowledge brokering in hospital settings: Facilitating knowledge sharing and learning for patient safety?

Justin Waring, Graeme Currie, Amanda Crompton, Simon Bishop

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78 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports on an exploratory study of intra-organisational knowledge brokers working within three large acute hospitals in the English National Health Services. Knowledge brokering is promoted as a strategy for supporting knowledge sharing and learning in healthcare, especially in the diffusion of research evidence into practice. Less attention has been given to brokers who support knowledge sharing and learning within healthcare organisations. With specific reference to the need for learning around patient safety, this paper focuses on the structural position and role of four types of intra-organisational brokers. Through ethnographic research it examines how variations in formal role, location and relationships shape how they share and support the use of knowledge across organisational and occupational boundaries. It suggests those occupying hybrid organisational roles, such as clinical-managers, are often best positioned to support knowledge sharing and learning because of their 'ambassadorial' type position and legitimacy to participate in multiple communities through dual-directed relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethnography
  • Knowledge brokering
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Organisational learning
  • Patient safety
  • UK

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