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How do knowledge brokers work? Implications for policy and practice in the case of WERS

Drew, Hilary; Ritchie, Felix; King, Anna


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Dr Hilary Lowe
School Director (Partnerships & International)

Anna King


© 2014 Intellect Ltd Article. English language. A resource-based view of organizations suggests that internal knowledge is amongst the most important sources of competitive advantage (Hendry and Pettigrew 1990; Leonard-Barton 1995). Regardless of whether these ideas are exaggerated, it is not necessary to buy into them all to accept the significance of knowledge as a resource. Nevertheless, the fact remains that knowledge is complex, multi-faceted, intangible, often tacit and specialised (Davenport and Prusak; Ahmed et al. 2002). Consequently, it is difficult to manage exchange. This has implications for narrowing the gap between academic research and policy impact and developing policy-relevant academic research and to improve a flow of information between academics and policy-makers. One way of improving the exchange and flow of knowledge is to use knowledge brokers (KBs), who bridge the gap between creators and users of knowl-edge (Lavis 2006). The function of a KB may vary according to context. In the case of specialised knowledge, Stuiver, et al (2013) have gone as far as to suggest that KBs are part of a creative process, where knowledge-broking may be a way of codifying, translating and, finally, sharing, difficult to disseminate knowledge. This idea has been expanded upon in the literature with KBs engaged in the process of the crea-tion of new knowledge (Oldham and McLean 1997; Stuiver et al. 2013). This paper builds upon a study examining how the Work and Employment Relations Survey (WERS) data informs government policy, in order to establish the significant role which KBs play in bridging the gap between research, knowledge and policy-making. Our findings indicate that WERS is widely used and feeds into a wide range of non-academic policy outputs through the involvement of particular agents, who play the role of KBs at various points in the dissemination and use of WERS data.


Drew, H., Ritchie, F., & King, A. (2014). How do knowledge brokers work? Implications for policy and practice in the case of WERS. International Journal of Technology Management and Sustainable Development, 13(3), 205-218.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Journal International Journal of Technology Management and Sustainable Development
Print ISSN 1474-2748
Electronic ISSN 2040-0551
Publisher Intellect
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 3
Pages 205-218
Keywords WERS, academics, knowledge, knowledge-brokers, policy-makers, think tanks
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