Count, proportion, qualitative
Issues and Challenges:
Theories and models are essential for planning a number of public health activities, including KM. Since they are conceptual tools that have been developed, improved, and refined, they can help guide the systematic planning and implementation of programs, strategies, and activities (Ohio University/C-Change, 2011). Theory can provide structure on which to build a KM project or activity, particularly if you choose a theory based on the outcomes you hope to achieve. The application of relevant theory can help organizations plan more effective activities, which ultimately help meet overall health or development goals (Salem et al., 2008).
Theories can either be more general and broadly applied across a number of activities, or they can be have a specified content or topic area (Van Ryn & Heaney, 1992). A number of theories can guide KM work. Choosing an appropriate theory to guide a KM initiative may be crucial to its success. Since the fields of KM and communication share some goals, and often share project staff, some theories used in KM work stem from the field of behavior change communication.
For example, project staff may choose to tailor KM outputs based on the Stages of Change theory (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1984), which helps identify the user’s cognitive stage. The five phases of the theory are pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. Another theory useful to KM is the Diffusion of Innovation Theory. This theory proposes that people adopt a new idea/innovation via a five-stage process—knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation, and confirmation (Rogers, 2003). Understanding at what point an intended user group is along this progression can help KM practitioners design strategies for knowledge sharing, learning, and promotion of new ideas and knowledge.