Diffusion of Product Innovation Through Identifying Communities of Practice Networks in UAE Healthcare Organizations Dissertation

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Diffusion of Product Innovation through Identifying Communities of Practice Networks in UAE Healthcare Organizations

Innovations in technology and healthcare have revolutionized the manner in which clinicians collaborate within social networks of various types, including so-called communities of practice. Communities of practice have been shown to provide their members with a group of peers whom they can contact quickly and easily through technology, pose issues or specific problems, and obtain suggestions, in a relatively short time-frame. Therefore, Communities of Practice can help organizations transform from the traditional multidivisional or M-form organization into more competitive learning, or L-form, organization. This dissertation sought to discover if communities of practice networks exist in UAE healthcare industry, to define those areas of the communities of practice that are adjusted to the greatest levels of knowledge-based velocity and therefore diffusion of innovation based on trust. The diffusion maturity models for new processes and new products also have to be taken into account, and corresponding frameworks also created for them as well.

Diffusion of Product Innovation through Identifying Communities of Practice Networks in UAE Healthcare Organizations

"None of us is as smart as all of us." -- David R. Bender, 2000, p. 5

Chapter One: Introduction

Statement of the Problem

Today, healthcare organizations are typically characterized by complexity, an enormous investment in infrastructure and a multidisciplinary cadre of clinicians. These clinicians may or may not be receptive to innovations in technology and product development depending in some measure on how their colleagues view these innovations. When efficient networks exist among healthcare practitioners, the data-sharing practices that are needed to communicate this type of information are improved and innovations may be more readily adopted on a widespread basis. According to Rogers (2003, 5), diffusion is the process in which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system. Communities of Practice are an example of such social systems. For the diffusion of innovation to be effective in any Community of Practice (CoP) network, the synchronization of the factors of communication channels, rate of adoption, and characteristics of the social system both from a social structure and communication structure need to be taken into account. To the extent these factors are in alignment with each other is the extent to which there is an effective diffusion of innovation (DoI), optimization of resource allocation, and the stability to create an ethical framework. When a CoP has attained this level of efficiency across these three dimensions, the tendency of its structure to create a learning ecosystem also begins to emerge (Chang, Harrington Jr., 937). Learning ecosystems help to minimize resistance to change by concentrating on assimilating knowledge through reciprocal sharing of insights, the creation of process-based taxonomies, and the development of governance frameworks for the continual improvement and growth of them (Grossmeier, 346).

Purpose of Study

The main purpose of the dissertation was to develop timely and informed answers to the following guiding research question and sub-questions concerning the diffusion of innovation and its application in the healthcare system in UAE:

RQ: Do social networks and communities of practice (CoP) exist in UAE healthcare system and can leaders be identified?

Sub-question 1: How can the CoP data be used to improve the diffusion of new innovation between healthcare professionals?

Sub-question 2: How can pharmaceutical companies activate CoP networks to improve their resource allocation?

Sub-question 3: How can pharmaceutical companies harness the benefits of CoP within their ethical framework?

Importance of Study

Improvements in competitiveness and productivity of nations today depend on the introduction and diffusion of innovation among firms (Vazquez-Barquero, 2002). The diffusion of innovation throughout healthcare organizations often begins in the knowledge management, support services and decision support systems areas due to these processes having a direct impact on quality of care (Wong, Legnini, Whitmore, Taylor, 2000, 249). Moreover, researchers, theorists, and practitioners from many fields are interested in and affected by the diffusion of innovations within and across organizations, including organization development, education, management, health care and public health, information technology, and sociology. Many of these fields have a shared interest in organizational improvement, yet there is evidence that innovations often are not diffused within and across organizations to achieve improvement (Lundblad, 2003, 50). A few examples illustrate the issue, and provide a background for why diffusion of innovation is an important topic from both theoretical and practice perspectives. In healthcare settings, new clinical and process advancements are continuously developed in research and practice settings, yet these innovations often take years, if not decades, to spread into wide use (Lundblad, 2003). Process innovations are often low or no cost changes that a health care delivery organization can make, such as reminder systems, pathways, and clinical guidelines, yet they still do not find their way into practice (Lundblad, 2003).

The propensity of a CoP to serve as the catalyst for creating greater levels of knowledge transfer and corresponding trust is also a key determinant in the productivity of healthcare communities throughout communities and regions (Fuentelsaz, Gomez, Palomas, 1172). From a more pragmatic perspective, in order for the UAE healthcare community to nurture and grow CoPs, there must be a concentration on knowledge sharing, the evaluating of new medical products (Carter, 20) to more efficiently and completely treat patients, and a recognition of the fact that continual improvement will require continual measurement as well (Inamdar, Kaplan, Reynolds, 179). From the qualitative aspects of the steps required to create a CoP and continually grow it through the use of knowledge sharing and the creation and maintenance of a knowledge management system, there must be strong leadership for this type of socially-based community to stay in existence and grow over time.

Any CoP must also be outward centered, looking at the unmet needs of those professionals in the UAE healthcare community who seek to continually improve and learn. Any CoP, to stay relevant, must have this outward-facing set of priorities and concerns not only about recently introduced medical technologies (Carter, 20) and their implications on broader technology acceptance and adoption (Bernstein, McCreless, Cote, 17) but more importantly on their diffusion through the UAE medical community (Huesch, 1270). There must be an aspect of environmental scanning for best practices or approaches making the greatest increases in efficiency to critical healthcare processes too if the CoP is going to grow in its value to those who are members. In this regard, Lee and Valderrama (2003) note that, "CoPs are created to connect individuals with a common interest, so they can exchange knowledge objects, best practices, and lessons learned" (p. 29). In sum, in order for any CoP to be effective, there must be constant attention to learning and to allowing for the gradual diffusion of innovation based on the level of acceptance to change within the CoP itself. Inherent in this gradual diffusion of innovation also is the concept of a maturity model. Therefore, for any CoP to be effective in continually meeting the needs of its members, a maturity model of diffusion must also be created and fine-tuned over time so that the CoP will stay relevant, continually accumulating and sharing knowledge with its members.

Rationale of Study

Etienne Wegner provides a useful definition of communities of practice as being groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and want to learn how to do it better by regular interactions with each other. Communities of practice can provide the framework in which group members can interact effectively with peers through rapid technology-enabled communications to discuss timely issues of mutual concern in a collaborative effort to solve problems and obtain recommendations (Hemmasi & Csanda, 2009, p. 262). Consequently, mature communities of practice are capable of assisting organizations make the transition from a traditional multidivisional or M-form organization into more competitive learning, or L-form, organization (James, 2002). According to Wegner (1991) and Hemmasi and Csanda (2009), the primary characteristics that serve to identify a group as a community of practice include the following: (a) a recognized domain of interest that the group members share an interest in and commit to, (b) relationships between group members that allow them to engage in joint activities, share information and help each other, and (c) the development of a shared practice that consists of experiences, stories, tools, shared resources, and so forth. Likewise, Wesley and Buysse (2001) emphasize that, "Compared to other collaborative research-practice approaches that appear in the literature such as action research or professional development schools, communities of practice may offer the most promise for altering the linear relationships through which information is handed down from those who discover the professional knowledge to those who provide and receive services" (p. 114).

The ability of practitioners to develop shared knowledge in these environments, though, is not an automatic process but rather requires that community members actively engage in information-sharing process that help to consolidate and use the information that is available in ways that help to define sets of best practices; however, since the goal of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Diffusion of Product Innovation Through Identifying Communities of Practice Networks in UAE Healthcare Organizations."  Essaytown.com.  May 19, 2010.  Accessed February 16, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/diffusion-product-innovation-identifying/2415.