The enactment of knowledge translation: a study of the Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care initiative within the English National Health Service

J Health Serv Res Policy. 2013 Oct;18(3 Suppl):40-52. doi: 10.1177/1355819613499902. Epub 2013 Sep 18.


Objectives: We contribute to existing knowledge translation (KT) literature by developing the notion of 'enactment' and illustrate this through an interpretative, comparative case-study analysis of three Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) initiatives. We argue for a focus on the way in which the CLAHRC model has been 'enacted' as central to the different KT challenges and capabilities encountered.

Methods: A comparative, mixed method study created a typology of enactments (Classical, Home-grown and Imported) using qualitative analysis and social network analysis.

Results: We identify systematic differences in the enactment of the CLAHRC model. The sources of these different enactments are subsequently related to variation in formative interpretations and leadership styles, the implementation of different governance structures, and the relative epistemic differences between the professional groups involved.

Conclusions: Enactment concerns the creative agency of individuals and groups in constituting a particular context for their work through their local interpretation of a particular KT model. Our theory of enactment goes beyond highlighting variation between CLAHRCs, to explore the mechanisms that influence the way a particular model is interpreted and acted upon. We thus encourage less focus on conceptual models and more on the formative role played by leaders of KT initiatives.

Keywords: health care management; knowledge translation networks; social network analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Community-Institutional Relations
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • England
  • Evidence-Based Practice / organization & administration*
  • Health Services Research / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Knowledge*
  • Leadership*
  • Models, Organizational
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Program Evaluation
  • Social Support
  • State Medicine
  • Translational Research, Biomedical / organization & administration*