Extra-team connections for knowledge transfer between staff teams

Health Educ Res. 2009 Dec;24(6):967-76. doi: 10.1093/her/cyp030. Epub 2009 Jun 15.


As organizations implement novel health promotion programs across multiple sites, they face great challenges related to knowledge management. Staff social networks may be a useful medium for transferring program-related knowledge in multi-site implementation efforts. To study this potential, we focused on the role of extra-team connections (ties between staff members based in different site teams) as potential channels for knowledge sharing. Data come from a cross-sectional study of after-school child-care staff implementing a health promotion program at 20 urban sites of the Young Men's Christian Association of Greater Boston. We conducted a sociometric social network analysis and attempted a census of 91 program staff members. We surveyed 80 individuals, and included 73 coordinators and general staff, who lead and support implementation, respectively, in this study. A multiple linear regression model demonstrated a positive relationship between extra-team connections (beta = 3.41, P < 0.0001) and skill receipt, a measure of knowledge transfer. We also found that intra-team connections (within-team ties between staff members) were also positively related to skill receipt. Connections between teams appear to support knowledge transfer in this network, but likely require greater active facilitation, perhaps via organizational changes. Further research on extra-team connections and knowledge transfer in low-resource, high turnover environments is needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Boston
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination*
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Male