Knowledge Creation Processes in Foundation Degree Partnership Working

Reid, Anne-Marie (2011). Knowledge Creation Processes in Foundation Degree Partnership Working. EdD thesis The Open University.



This thesis seeks to develop an understanding of knowledge creation processes in partnership working, conditions which foster these, and their impact on longer-term sustainability. The partnership, between a university in Greater Manchester and the Strategic Health Authority, was established in 2002 to train a new role of healthcare worker through the delivery a foundation degree in health and social care. At that time foundation degrees were new, and the 'Assistant Practitioner' role was being introduced to bridge the gap between staff at registered professional level and those at support worker level. The role is intended as generic and patient-centred in crossing traditional professional boundaries, and so presents challenges in creating, sharing and embedding knowledge, which accords well with the concept of knowledge management. The study explores Nonaka and Takeuchi's (1995) model of Knowledge Management, and Engestrom's (1997,2001) Activity Theory, in relation to how these constructs may provide insight into the knowledge processes in partnership working. 'Partnership' is a contested concept which is debated in the context of the policy drivers underpinning the development. The enquiry has employed a case study approach within an interpretive paradigm with data gathered through semi-structured interviews and a focus group. Thematic analysis of the interview data identifies and explores themes in knowledge creation and partnership working which raise questions of power dynamics. These questions are not fully addressed by the knowledge creation models, and so the relationship between power, knowledge and discourse is further considered through a Foucauldian discourse analysis approach to the focus group. The conclusions support the value of the knowledge creation models for developing insights into how partnership working supports innovation and may sustain it. The discourse analysis reveals the pervasiveness of power relationships, reflects on their impact on knowledge creation, and considers the consequences for longer-term sustainability of the partnership.

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