Academic journal article Management & Marketing

Knowledge Transfer in Medical Education from a Teamwork Perspective

Academic journal article Management & Marketing

Knowledge Transfer in Medical Education from a Teamwork Perspective

Article excerpt

Abstract. The factors of knowledge transfer through teamwork in hospitals from developing medical systems have not been thoroughly studied. We explored physicians' assessment of knowledge sharing in teams in order to better define and understand these factors. We questioned 1615 physicians in 323 clinics, who returned 898 valid questionnaires. The physicians were asked to reflect on their learning experiences, as members in various teams, and on the value of these situations for their overall learning outcomes. We have used principal component analysis and OLS regression to outline the relations between the perceived quality of overall learning outcomes and the learning situations encountered in teamwork. We have obtained a model of teamwork learning, to which stability is central: a constant group of physicians, alternating in teams. The learning opportunities in the clinic include learning from one's own errors, learning from colleagues (role models), learning from patients, learning from case discussions, learning from clinical report discussions. Some are retained and some others are dropped, based on the physicians' attitude to them. While learning from one's own errors is preferred, role models seem to be rather controversial. Physicians' own judgments and evaluations of learning sources influence team knowledge transfer and its perceived quality.

Keywords: knowledge transfer, inter-professional learning, medical teamwork

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. Introduction

Teamwork is currently recognized as being Achilles' heel in medical practice and education (Burford, 2012; Curran et al., 2007; Wilkinson, 2002). It is a sensitive issue impacting largely on the quality of care. In fact, the two processes of the medical profession, learning and doing, can hardly be set apart, in the 'learning together to work together' paradigm (Thistlethwaite, 2012). This paradigm also considers the prepositions of learning, with, from, and about, which include the classical triad of knowing what, knowing how, and knowing whom, but go beyond it, in stressing the blending of collaborative, peer-to-peer learning with learning from models.

Medical education has at least two important particularities. First, it mainly takes place in a clinical context or, as it is commonly said, by the bedside. The variety of information, the pressure to learn and the costs of error differ largely from any other educational setting. Second, it is a continuous learning, blended with the professional activity itself. The natural question arising is to what extend this specific of medical education enables or hinders knowledge transfer, which is at the core of every learning process?

Teamwork is an intuition-based, personalized knowledge management (Sheffield, 2008). Healthcare organizations tend to prefer the codified approach, based on rigorous and rigid routines and procedures. Although this standardization is widely popular in healthcare nowadays, in the form of evidence-based medicine (Bossuyt and Kortenray, 2001), we claim that standardization may benefit from teamwork learning, because knowledge, in medical practice, is not always explicit. Initiatives like "clinical excellence" (Wailoo et al., 2004) should take into account the role of tacit knowledge diffusion in medical practice. Our discussion on learning and knowledge sharing will be an integrative approach to the types of knowledge and conversion from tacit to explicit, and to intergenerational transfer.

Knowledge dynamics is a softorganizational learning process taking place in a knowledge intensive workplace (Bratianu and Orzea, 2011; Bratianu et al., 2011; Kyndt et al., 2009; Liveng, 2010; Mayer, 2010; Morgan et al., 2005; Nissen, 2006; Pawlowsky, 2001; Prugsamatz, 2010; Roos et al., 2005). Knowledge dynamics can be described as a continuous restructuring of the field forces acting within an organization. It comprises processes like knowledge creation, knowledge acquisition, knowledge dissemination, knowledge diffusion, knowledge exchange, knowledge sharing, knowledge storing and retrieving, knowledge transformation, and knowledge loss. …

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