Full citation

Yanow, D. (2004). Translating Local Knowledge at Organizational Peripheries. British Journal of Management, 15(S1), S9–S25.

Format: Peer-reviewed article

Type: Research — Non-experimental

Experience level of reader: Fundamental

Annotation: The author uses theory and three case stories to highlight missed opportunities to translate and apply valuable front-line worker knowledge, which is often acquired collaboratively through a community of practitioners and/or directly through interaction and with clients.

Setting(s) to which the reported activities/findings are relevant: Large business, Small business (less than 500 employees)

Knowledge user(s) to whom the piece of literature may be relevant: Researchers

Knowledge user level addressed by the literature: Organization

This article uses the Commercial Devices and Services version of the NtK Model

Primary Findings

Barriers:

  • In knowledge translation, front-line workers can be a valuable source of knowledge, but they may be ignored by managers. The disconnect between what front-line workers know and what managers value, acknowledge and use may be attributable to differences focus, with front-line workers emphasizing practice and experience and managers emphasizing operations management and policy. Managers should watch for, and address disconnects.
    Case stories and theory development about the role of front-line workers in knowledge translation.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3
  • In knowledge translation, front-line workers can be a valuable source of knowledge, but they may be ignored by colleagues and/or managers. The disconnect between what front-line workers know and what others value, acknowledge and use may be attributable to the inability of their colleagues or managers to acknowledge the need for change (or admit ignorance). Knowledge translators should watch for, and address disconnects.
    Case stories and theory development about the role of front-line workers in knowledge translation.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3
  • In knowledge translation, front-line workers can be a valuable source of knowledge, but they may be ignored by decision-makers. In large organizations, the disconnect between what front-line workers know and what others value, acknowledge and use may be attributable to their ‘distance’ from decision-makers.Decision-makers should watch for, and address disconnects.
    Case stories and theory development about the role of front-line workers in knowledge translation.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3
  • In knowledge translation, frontline workers can be a valuable source of knowledge, but they may be ignored by colleagues and/or managers. The disconnect between what front-line workers know and what others value, acknowledge and use may be attributable to a lack of organizational power, position or status. Knowledge translators should watch for, and address disconnects.
    Case stories and theory development about the role of front-line workers in knowledge translation.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3
  • In knowledge translation, front-line workers can be a valuable source of knowledge, but they may be ignored by colleagues and/or managers. The disconnect between what front-line workers know and what others value, acknowledge and use may be attributable to perceived differences in levels-of-expertise or disagreements between professions. Knowledge translators should watch for, and address disconnects.
    Case stories and theory development about the role of front-line workers in knowledge translation.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 3, KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2
  • One of the challenges knowledge producers (e.g., researchers) may face when trying to translate their research findings and apply them in a knowledge user’s (e.g., practitioner’s) setting is aligning the new knowledge with the knowledge user’s context (and the knowledge user’s local knowledge, such as how work gets done and/or organizational constraints on how it must be done) and rendering the new knowledge applicable and usable.
    Case stories and theory development about the role of front-line workers in knowledge translation.
    Occurrence of finding within the model: KTA Stage 1, KTA Stage 2, KTA Stage 3