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Escaping silence: A communities of practice view on learning from innovation in the health sector

Kars-Unluoglu, Selen; Jarvis, Carol; Sheffield, Rob


Selen Kars
Associate Professor in Organisation Studies

Carol Jarvis
Professor in Knowledge Exchange, Public and Business Engagement and Innovation

Rob Sheffield
Occasional Associate Lecturer - FBL - BAM


This article contributes to our understanding of the power of communities of practice (CoPs) to move innovation forward in organisations illustrating how managers, armed with the benefits of collaborating and sharing ideas on practices of innovation management, can renegotiate the power relations in their organisations to achieve mobilisation for and social acceptance of their innovation initiatives. Based on our research, which involved analysing data from interviews with and qualitative diaries of 21 senior managers working in different health sector organisations across the South West of England, we found that health sector managers experience a tension between the rhetoric around innovation, change, systems leadership, whole system thinking and so on and the everyday lived experience of managing innovation and making change to skills, capabilities and outcomes across the whole system. The way they balance (not resolve) the tension is the ‘extramural’ communities of practice they form which offer not only opportunities in terms of learning (Wenger, 2000) and building relations to cope with challenging problems (Wenger and Snyder, 2000) but it also allow them to find voice and develop social and self-centred identities in addition to their workplace identity.


Kars-Unluoglu, S., Jarvis, C., & Sheffield, R. (2019, April). Escaping silence: A communities of practice view on learning from innovation in the health sector. Paper presented at OLKC 2019, Brighton, England

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name OLKC 2019
Conference Location Brighton, England
Start Date Apr 24, 2019
End Date Apr 26, 2019
Acceptance Date Apr 1, 2019
Deposit Date Apr 8, 2019
Publicly Available Date Apr 8, 2019
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords communities of practice, innovation, leadership learning, identity
Public URL
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : OLKC 2019


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