Necessary but Not Sufficient…; Comment on “Knowledge Mobilization in Healthcare Organizations: A View From the Resource-Based View of the Firm”

Document Type : Commentary


School of Nursing, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia


The challenge of mobilizing knowledge to improve patient care, population health and ensure effective use of resources is an enduring one in healthcare systems across the world. This commentary reflects on an earlier paper by Ferlie and colleagues that proposes the resource-based view (RBV) of the firm as a useful theoretical lens through which to study knowledge mobilization in healthcare. Specifically, the commentary considers 3 areas that need to be addressed in relation to the proposed application of RBV: the definition of competitive advantage in healthcare; the contribution of macro level theory to understanding knowledge mobilization in healthcare; and the need to embrace and align multiple theories at the micro, meso, and macro levels of implementation.


Main Subjects

  1. Ferlie E, Crilly T, Jashapara A, Trenholm S, Peckham A, Currie G. Knowledge mobilization in healthcare organizations: a view from the resource-based view of the firm. Int J Health Policy Manag. 2015;4(3):127-130. doi:10.15171/ijhpm.2015.35
  2. Schuster M, McGlynn E, Brook R. How good is the quality of health care in the United States? Milbank Q. 1998;76:517-563.
  3. Runciman WB, Coiera EW, Day RO, et al. Towards the delivery of appropriate health care in Australia. Med J Aust. 2012;197(2):78-81.
  4. Barney J, Clark D. Resource Based Theory: Creating and Sustaining Competitive Advantage. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2007.
  5. Gilbert BJ, Clarke E, Leaver L. Morality and markets in the NHS. Int J Health Policy Manag. 2014;3(7):371-376. doi:10.15171/ijhpm.2014.123
  6. Walshe K, Harvey G, Hyde P, Pandit N. Organizational Failure and Turnaround: Lessons for Public Services from the For-Profit Sector. Public Money  Management. 2004;24(4):201-208. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9302.2004.00421.x
  7. Harvey G, Skelcher C, Spencer E, Jas P, Walshe K. Absorptive Capacity in a Non-Market Environment. Public Management Review. 2009;12(1):77-97. doi:10.1080/14719030902817923
  8. Whittington JW, Nolan K, Lewis N, Torres T. Pursuing the Triple Aim: The First 7 Years. Milbank Q. 2015;93(2):263-300. doi:10.1111/1468-0009.12122
  9. Francis R. Report of the The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry. Executive Summary. London: The Stationery Office;2103.
  10. Kitson AL, Muntlin Athlin A, Conroy T. Anything but basic: Nursing's challenge in meeting patients' fundamental care needs. J Nurs Scholarsh. 2014;46(5):331-339. doi:10.1111/jnu.12081
  11. Osborne K. Duty to provide fundamentals of care spelled out in new NMC code. Nurs Stand. 2014;29(15):7. doi:10.7748/ns.29.15.7.s2
  12. Kitson A, Wiechula R, Conroy T, Muntlin Athlin A, Whitaker N. The Future Shape of the Nursing Workforce: A Synthesis of the Evidence of Factors that Impact on Quality Nursing Care. Adelaide, South Australia: School of Nursing, the University of Adelaide; 2013.
  13. Swinglehurst D, Emmerich N, Maybin J, Park S, Quilligan S. Confronting the quality paradox: towards new characterisations of 'quality' in contemporary healthcare. BMC Health Serv Res. 2015;15:240. doi:10.1186/s12913-015-0851-y
  14. D’Andreta D, Scarbrough H, Evans S. The enactment of knowledge translation: a study of the Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care initiative within the English National Health Service. J Health Serv Res  Policy. 2013;18(3 suppl):40-52. doi:10.1177/1355819613499902
  15. Currie G, Lockett A, Enany NE. From what we know to what we do: lessons learned from the translational CLAHRC initiative in England. J Health Serv Res  Policy. 2013;18(3 suppl):27-39. doi:10.1177/1355819613500484
  16. Rycroft-Malone J, Wilkinson J, Burton CR, et al. Collaborative action around implementation in Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care: towards a programme theory. J Health Serv Res  Policy. 2013;18(3 suppl):13-26. doi:10.1177/1355819613498859
  17. Fitzgerald L, Harvey G. Translational networks in healthcare? Evidence on the design and initiation of organizational networks for knowledge mobilization. Social Science & Medicine. 2015;138:192-200. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.06.015
  18. Oborn E, Barrett M, Prince K, Racko G. Balancing exploration and exploitation in transferring research into practice: a comparison of five knowledge translation entity archetypes. Implement Sci. 2013;8(1):104.
  19. Currie G, El Enany N, Lockett A. Intra-professional dynamics in translational health research: The perspective of social scientists. Soc Sci  Med. 2014;114(0):81-88. Doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.05.045
  20. Damschroder L, Aron D, Keith R, Kirsh S, Alexander J, Lowery J. Fostering implementation of health services research findings into practice: a consolidated framework for advancing implementation science. Implement Science. 2009;4:50.
  21. Harvey G, Kitson A. Implementing Evidence-Based Practice in Healthcare: A facilitation guide. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge; 2015.
  22. Burton CR, Rycroft-Malone J. Resource based view of the firm as a theoretical lens on the organisational consequences of quality improvement. Int J Health Policy Manag. 2014;3(3):113-115. doi:10.15171/ijhpm.2014.74
  23. Harvey G, Jas P, Walshe K. Analysing organisational context: case studies on the contribution of absorptive capacity theory to understanding inter-organisational variation in performance improvement. BMJ Qual Saf. 2015;24(1):48-55. doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2014-002928
  24. Pablo AL, Reay T, Dewald JR, Casebeer AL. Identifying, Enabling and Managing Dynamic Capabilities in the Public Sector. J Manag Stud. 2007;44(5):687-708. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6486.2006.00675.x
  25. Kitson A, Harvey G, McCormack B. Enabling the implementation of evidence based practice: a conceptual framework. Quality Health Care. 1998;7:149-159.
  26. Rycroft-Malone J, Kitson A, Harvey G, et al. Ingredients for change: revisiting a conceptual framework. Qual Saf Health Care. 2002;11:174-180.
  27. Kitson A, Rycroft-Malone J, Harvey G, McCormack B, Seers K, Titchen A. Evaluating the successful implementation of evidence into practice using the PARIHS framework: theoretical and practical challenges (2008). Implement Sci. 2008;3:1.
  28. Harvey G, Kitson A. A model of facilitation for evidence-based practice. In: Harvey G, Kitson A, eds. Implementing Evidence-Based Practice in Healthcare: A Facilitation Guide. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge; 2015:47-69.