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Qual Health Res. 2015 Nov;25(11):1492-505. doi: 10.1177/1049732315583268. Epub 2015 Apr 22.

Leadership for Knowledge Translation: The Case of CLAHRCs.

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Henley Business School, University of Reading, United Kingdom Imperial College Business School, London, United Kingdom
Surrey Business School, University of Surrey, Surrey, United Kingdom.
Imperial College Business School, London, United Kingdom.


Calls for successful knowledge translation (KT) in health care have multiplied over recent years. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) program is a policy initiative in the United Kingdom aimed at speeding-up the translation of research into health care practice. Using multiple qualitative research methods and drawing on the ongoing processes used by individuals to interpret and contextualize information, we explore how new organizational forms for KT bridge the gap between research and practice. We pay particular attention to the relationship between the organization and practices of KT and leadership. Our empirical data demonstrate how the relationship between leadership and KT shifted over time from a push model where the authoritarian top-down leadership team set outcome measures by which to judge KT performance to one which aimed to distribute leadership capacity across a wide range of stakeholders in health and social care systems. The relationship between the organization and practices of KT and leadership is affected by local contextual influences on policies directed at increasing the uptake of research in clinical practice. Policy makers and service leaders need to recognize that more dispersed type of leadership is needed to accommodate the idiosyncratic nature of collective action.


CLAHRC; English National Health Service; case study; distributed leadership; knowledge translation; qualitative

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