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How do knowledge brokers work? The case of WERS

Drew, Hilary; Ritchie, Felix; King, Anna

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Dr Hilary Lowe
School Director (Partnerships & International)

Anna King


A resource-based view of organizations suggests that internal knowledge is amongst the most important sources of competitive advantage. 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. Knowledge is complex, multi-faceted, intangible, often tacit and specialised; consequently, it is difficult to manage exchange. This has implications for narrowing the gap between academic research and policy impact, and for developing policy-relevant academic research.
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 knowledge. The function of a KB may vary according to context. In the case of specialised knowledge, some 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 sharing difficult-to-disseminate knowledge. This idea has been expanded upon in the literature with KBs engaged in the process of the creation of new knowledge.
This paper examines how one particular study, the Workplace Employment Relations Study (WERS), uses KBs to bridge the gap between research and practical knowledge. the findings indicate that KBs in both government and academia have been essential in the effective deployment of WERS research in policy-making and commercial practice.


Drew, H., Ritchie, F., & King, A. (2014). How do knowledge brokers work? The case of WERS. Bristol

Publication Date Apr 1, 2014
Deposit Date Apr 15, 2015
Publicly Available Date Feb 10, 2016
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords WERS, workplace employment relations survey, knowledge, knowledge exchange
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Additional Information Additional Information : Economics Working Paper Series No. 1403. A revised version of this WP was published in Int. J. of Tech. Mgmt. and Sustainable Devt., December, 2014


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