Supporting knowledge sharing in biomedical innovation projects

[German title: Wissensteilung in biomedizinschen Innovationsprojekten fördern]

Jacky Swan, Mike Bresnen, Sue Newell, and Maxine Robertson
The object of knowledge: The role of objects in biomedical innovation
Human Relations, Vol. 60, No. 12, 1809-1837 (2007)
DOI: 10.1177/0018726707084915

Abstract: Understanding innovation in the biomedical field requires an appreciation of its highly interactive nature and of the many professional and organizational boundaries that create barriers to interaction and the sharing of knowledge. Yet, research to date has directed much less attention to understanding the intricacies of interactive biomedical innovation in practice, than it has to exploring the factors influencing innovation at an institutional level. Drawing upon empirical research and taking an approach informed by symbolic interactionism and a practice-based perspective on knowledge and learning, this article offers insights into the processes involved in supporting knowledge sharing by focusing on `objects’ and the varying roles they play (instrumental and symbolic) in enabling (or potentially disabling) interaction amongst groups and organizations involved in biomedical innovation projects.

Key Words: biomedical • boundary objects • innovation • practice-based perspective • symbolic interactionism

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© 2007 The Tavistock Institute

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