The role of interpersonal communication in the process of knowledge mobilization within a community-based organization: A network analysis

Heather L. Gainforth, Amy E. Latimer-Cheung*, Peter Athanasopoulos, Spencer Moore, Kathleen A.M. Ginis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Diffusion of innovations theory has been widely used to explain knowledge mobilization of research findings. This theory posits that individuals who are more interpersonally connected within an organization may be more likely to adopt an innovation (e.g., research evidence) than individuals who are less interconnected. Research examining this tenet of diffusion of innovations theory in the knowledge mobilization literature is limited. The purpose of the present study was to use network analysis to examine the role of interpersonal communication in the adoption and mobilization of the physical activity guidelines for people with spinal cord injury (SCI) among staff in a community-based organization (CBO). Methods: The study used a cross-sectional, whole-network design. In total, 56 staff completed the network survey. Adoption of the guidelines was assessed using Rogers' innovation-decision process and interpersonal communication was assessed using an online network instrument. Results: The patterns of densities observed within the network were indicative of a core-periphery structure revealing that interpersonal communication was greater within the core than between the core and periphery and within the periphery. Membership in the core, as opposed to membership in the periphery, was associated with greater knowledge of the evidence-based physical activity resources available and engagement in physical activity promotion behaviours (ps < 0.05). Greater in-degree centrality was associated with adoption of evidence-based behaviours (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Findings suggest that interpersonal communication is associated with knowledge mobilization and highlight how the network structure could be improved for further dissemination efforts. Keywords: diffusion of innovations; network analysis; community-based organization; knowledge mobilization; knowledge translation, interpersonal communication.

Original languageEnglish
Article number59
JournalImplementation Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2014
Externally publishedYes

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