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Heedful interrelating, knowledge sharing, and new drug development

Alexander Styhre (Chalmers University of Technology, Vera Sandbergs Allé, Göteborg, Sweden)
Sanne Ollila (Chalmers University of Technology, Vera Sandbergs Allé, Göteborg, Sweden)
Jonas Roth (Chalmers University of Technology, Vera Sandbergs Allé, Göteborg, Sweden)
David Williamson (Wenell Management, Vädursgatan, Göteborg, Sweden)
Lena Berg (AstraZeneca R&D Mölndal, Mölndal, Sweden.)

Journal of Knowledge Management

ISSN: 1367-3270

Article publication date: 30 May 2008




The purpose of the paper is to report a study of knowledge sharing practices in the clinical research organization in a major pharmaceutical company. While knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer is often conceived of in terms of codification and storage in databases accessed through information technology, there is less experience in industry from working with knowledge sharing in face‐to‐face communication settings.


A collaborative research methodology including academic researchers, consultants and company representatives was used to examine and develop a knowledge‐sharing model. Interview and participative observations were used as data collection methods.


The study suggests that the use of so‐called knowledge facilitators, organizing and leading knowledge sharing seminars among clinical research teams, needs to develop the capacity to interrelate heedfully, that is, the dispositions to act with attentiveness, alertness, and care, to fully explore the insights, experiences, and know‐how generated in the clinical research teams. Heed precedes successful sharing of knowledge.

Research limitations/implications

It is concluded that the literature on knowledge sharing needs to pay closer attention to the practices on the micro level in knowledge sharing, in the day‐to‐day collaborations between different professional groups.


The paper applies the concept of “heedful interrelation” in a practical knowledge management project in a major pharmaceutical company.



Styhre, A., Ollila, S., Roth, J., Williamson, D. and Berg, L. (2008), "Heedful interrelating, knowledge sharing, and new drug development", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 127-140.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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