Communities of practice in healthcare: A framework for managing knowledge sharing in operations

Rasmus Jørgensen*, Enrico Scarso, Kasper Edwards, Christine Ipsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Communities of practice (CoPs) have been adopted by several industries, in particular healthcare, and researchers have proposed explanatory frameworks and guidelines for development. However, first‐line managers are left with sparse research‐based advice on how to develop CoP due to a lack of empirical studies from operations. In response, this paper proposes and tests a framework for intentional development of CoPs in healthcare operations. The proposed framework is structured in six steps, which incorporate seven factors for CoP development as identified in the literature. A double case study test demonstrates that the proposed framework can be applied to develop CoPs within operations, resulting in knowledge sharing between CoP participants, creation of new knowledge, and improvement of practice. In particular, the tests find the following steps to be especially crucial for CoP development: An introduction to the manager of the functions and benefits of CoPs to ensure resource allocation (e.g., time to participate and a meeting room), choosing a practice with relevance for manager and employees, appointing a coordinator, and inviting employees to participate voluntarily. This paper contributes to CoP theory with explanations of how and why specific actions develop CoP within operations. The contribution to practitioners is a step‐by‐step framework to intentionally develop CoPs within operations to improve knowledge sharing and practice improvement.
Original languageEnglish
JournalKnowledge and Process Management
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)152-162
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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