Looking Through a Social Lens: Conceptualising Social Aspects of Knowledge Management for Global Health Practitioners

J Public Health Res. 2017 Apr 18;6(1):761. doi: 10.4081/jphr.2017.761. eCollection 2017 Apr 13.


Knowledge management plays a critical role in global health. Global health practitioners require knowledge in every aspect of their jobs, and in resource-scarce contexts, practitioners must be able to rely on a knowledge management system to access the latest research and practice to ensure the highest quality of care. However, we suggest that there is a gap in the way knowledge management is primarily utilized in global health, namely, the systematic incorporation of human and social factors. In this paper, we briefly outline the evolution of knowledge management and then propose a conceptualization of knowledge management that incorporates human and social factors for use within a global health context. Our conceptualization of social knowledge management recognizes the importance of social capital, social learning, social software and platforms, and social networks, all within the context of a larger social system and driven by social benefit. We then outline the limitations and discuss future directions of our conceptualization, and suggest how this new conceptualization is essential for any global health practitioner in the business of managing knowledge.

Keywords: Knowledge management; Social capital; Social learning; Social media; Social networks.