The role of networks of practice, value sharing, and operational proximity in knowledge flows between professional groups

  • Tagliaventi M
  • Mattarelli E
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Abstract

This article investigates the process of knowledge sharing between individuals in different professional groups. Through an ethnographic study in a hospital unit, we examine the individuals’ involvement in networks of practice, their sharing of organizational values, and their operational proximity. Recent attention to networks of practice has led to a view of organizations as crossroads of networks; accordingly, boundary relations between different networks of practice are of core relevance to ensure knowledge diffusion in organizations, but empirical evidence is still lacking. Our grounded theory supports the idea that working side-by-side and having common organizational values are important bases for knowledge transfer between professional groups which belong to different networks of practice. Boundary knowledge transfer evokes new kinds of organizational citizenship behaviours. Professionals who initiate the transfer exhibit extra-role behaviours which, in turn, require the recipient to perform extra-role behaviours as well. Implications of knowledge sharing between professional groups are discussed together with recom- mendations for managerial action

Author-supplied keywords

  • Ethnography
  • Healthcare
  • Knowledge
  • Networks of practice
  • Organizational Citizenship Behaviours
  • Professional groups

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Authors

  • Maria Rita Tagliaventi

  • Elisa Mattarelli

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