The knowledge-based perspective of risk management in healthcare organisations
The aim of this research is to investigate how risk management in a healthcare organisation can be supported by knowledge management. The subject of research is the development and management of existing logs called "risk registers", through specific risk management processes employed in a N.H.S. (Foundation) Trust in England, in the U.K. Existing literature on organisational risk management stresses the importance of knowledge for the effective implementation of risk management programmes, claiming that knowledge used to perceive risk is biased by the beliefs of individuals and groups involved in risk management and therefore is considered incomplete. Further, literature on organisational knowledge management presents several definitions and categorisations of knowledge and approaches for knowledge manipulation in the organisational context as a whole. However, there is no specific approach regarding "how to deal" with knowledge in the course of organisational risk management. The research is based on a single case study, on a N.H.S. (Foundation) Trust, is influenced by principles of interpretivism and the frame of mind of Soft Systems Methodology (S.S.M.) to investigate the management of risk registers, from the viewpoint of people involved in the situation. Data revealed that knowledge about risks and about the existing risk management policy and procedures is situated in several locations in the Trust and is neither consolidated nor present where and when required. This study proposes a framework that identifies required knowledge for each of the risk management processes and outlines methods for conversion of this knowledge, based on the SECI knowledge conversion model, and activities to facilitate knowledge conversion so that knowledge is effectively used for the development of risk registers and the monitoring of risks throughout the whole Trust under study. This study has theoretical impact in the management science literature as it addresses the issue of incomplete knowledge raised in the risk management literature using concepts of the knowledge management literature, such as the knowledge conversion model. In essence, the combination of required risk and risk management related knowledge with the required type of communication for risk management creates the proposed methods for the support of each risk management process for the risk registers. Further, the indication of the importance of knowledge in risk management and the presentation of a framework that consolidates knowledge required for the risk management processes and proposes way(s) for the communication of this knowledge within a healthcare organisation have practical impact in the management of healthcare organisations.
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