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The Knowledge Value Chain

The Knowledge Value Chain

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Published by: Chowdhury Golam Kibria on Jan 05, 2011
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01/05/2011

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The knowledge-value chain: a conceptualframework for knowledge translation inhealth
Réjean Landry
I
; Nabil Amara
I
; Ariel Pablos-Mendes
II
;Ramesh Shademani
II,
1
; Irving Gold
III
I
Department of Management, Faculty of Business, LavalUniversity, Québec City, Canada G1K 7P4
II
Department of Knowledge Management and Sharing, WorldHealth Organization, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland
III
Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, Ottawa,Ontario, Canada
 
ABSTRACT
This article briefly discusses knowledge translation and lists theproblems associated with it. Then it uses knowledge-managementliterature to develop and propose a knowledge-value chainframework in order to provide an integrated conceptual model of knowledge management and application in public healthorganizations. The knowledge-value chain is a non-linear conceptand is based on the management of five dyadic capabilities:mapping and acquisition, creation and destruction, integrationand sharing/transfer, replication and protection, and performanceand innovation.
Introduction
The golden era of modern research, which started after theSecond World War, was a period during which research findingsoutside strategic government projects were published
1
andpassive diffusion followed. The 1970s saw the birth of evidence-based medicine, which used a "push strategy" of both activedissemination of practice guidelines and education for their localinterpretation and adaptation; technology assessment alsoemerged at a time when private industry took over most of theresearch and development of products. At the time, conceptualframeworks derived from the social theory of the diffusion of innovation included those of research transfer and researchutilization; the private sector developed value-chain models andmarketing strategies. The success of evidence-based medicine,
 
however, plateaued in the 1990s and the new millennium dawnedbringing fresh thinking to this old frontier. In Canada, forexample, as the institutions were reorganized or created, theterm "knowledge translattion" was coined and it emphasizedmodels of linkage and exchange.
2
The concept of knowledge translation (KT) is developing at a timewhen unprecedented global investments in health research havegenerated a vast pool of knowledge that is underused and nottranslated rapidly enough into new or improved health policies,products, services and outcomes. KT comes at a time when thegap between what is known and what gets done (the know–dogap) is highlighted by shortfalls in equity (for example, asunderscored by the Millennium Development Goals)
3
and quality(resulting in the developmment of the patient safety movement)in health services. However, there is a limited interpretation of KTas a linear transaction between research "producers" and "users"who trade knowledge as a commodity. Knowledge can be createdwithout science and KT is not research: it moves from respondingto curiosity to focusing on purpose and problem solving. It isdefined as "the synthesis, exchange and application of knowledgeby relevant stakeholders to accelerate the benefits of global andlocal innovation in strengthening health systems and improvingpeople's health".
4
More concretely, KT is about creating,transferring and transforming knowledge from one social ororganizational unit to another in a value-creating chain: it is acomplex interactive process that depends on human beings andtheir context. The transfer of knowledge from one community ororganizational unit to another usually faces five problems:knowledge access, knowledge incompleteness, knowledgeasymmetry, knowledge valuation and knowledge incompatibility(Box 1).
5–8
 
 
 
The knowledge-value chain
Knowledge management studies tend to adopt the organizationas their focus of attention, thus looking at how organizationalcharacteristics affect the translation and implementation of knowledge in the solving of public health problems. Themanagement literature considers knowledge to be the resourcewith the highest strategic value for organizations. For publichealth organizations, such as WHO, the capability to acquire,create, share and apply knowledge represents their mostsignificant capability in terms of solving public health problems.Two characteristics arise from such a perspective on knowledge

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