Management of Tacit Knowledge and the Issue of Empowerment of Patients and Stakeholders in the Health Care Sector

Management of Tacit Knowledge and the Issue of Empowerment of Patients and Stakeholders in the Health Care Sector

Marc Jacquinet (Universidade Aberta, Portugal), Henrique Curado (Politécnico do Porto, Portugal & Universidade do Minho, Portugal), Ângela Lacerda Nobre (Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal, Portugal), Maria José Sousa (Algarve University, Portugal), Marco Arraya (Universidade Aberta, Portugal), Rui Pimenta (Politécnico do Porto, Portugal) and António Eduardo Martins (Universidade Aberta, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3926-1.ch056
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Abstract

There is a growing literature on health and health care dedicated to empowerment of patients; but there is still a gap in the literature to conceptualize knowledge, to extend the discussion of the empowerment of the patients to the stakeholders. The discussion is at the level of managerial processes of empowerment and knowledge management related to health care. The present chapter starts with a review on empowerment, especially focused on the health sector. The following sections will develop a critical analysis of empowerment, mainly around the concept of tacit knowledge (Polanyi) and knowledge management. One key variable is the proximity of the actors involved in the empowerment process. This key variable is very much related to the tacitness issue of knowledge production and flows. The chapter extends the discussion of the empowerment of the patients to that of the stakeholders and the general debate about health literacy. A model is briefly described for the purpose of illustrating the learning process in a knowledge management implemented in health care.
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Introduction

The recent transformations in the economy and society are often referred to as the knowledge economy, the information society or even the knowledge society (Amin & Cohendet, 2004; Amin & Roberts, 2008; Antonelli, Foray, Hall, & Steinmueller, 2006; Carayannis, Pirzadeh, & Popescu, 2011; De la Mothe & Foray, 2001; Foray, 2010; Kahin & Foray, 2006; Lam, 2000). These transformations impact most sectors; and health care is no exception. It is a major provider of knowledge-intensive services that are going through a rather swift adoption of new information systems and knowledge management processes that parallel the concomitant emergence of new management models (J. Birkinshaw, 2010; Julian Birkinshaw, Hamel, & Mol, 2008; Julian Birkinshaw, Nobel, & Ridderstråle, 2002; Raisch & Birkinshaw, 2008). Related to these issues –in public policies, social action and management– the notion of empowerment has spread widely. Now, as discussed here, it is affecting health care models, institutions, businesses and management as much as the structuration and the organization of the whole sector.

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