Collective knowledge brokering: the model and impact of an embedded team

Lesley Wye, Helen Cramer, Kate Beckett, Michelle Farr, Andree le May, Jude Carey, Rebecca Robinson, Rachel Anthwal, James Rooney, Helen Baxter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
193 Downloads (Pure)


The Bristol Knowledge Mobilisation (KM) Team was an unusual collective brokering model, consisting of a multi-professional team of four managers and three academics embedded in both local healthcare policymaking (aka commissioning) and academic primary care. They aimed to encourage ‘research-informed commissioning’ and ‘commissioning-informed research’. This paper covers context, structure, processes, advantages, challenges and impact.
Data sources from brokers included personal logs, reflective essays, exit interviews and a team workshop. These were analysed inductively using constant comparison. To obtain critical distance, three external evaluations were conducted, using interviews, observations and documentation.
Stable, solvent organisations; senior involvement with good inter-professional relationships; secure funding; and networks of engaged allies in host organisations supported the brokers. Essential elements were two-way embedding, ‘buddying up’, team leadership, brokers’ interpersonal skills, and two-year, part-time contracts. By working collectively, the brokers fostered cross-community interactions and modelled collaborative behaviour, drawing on each other’s ‘insider’ knowledge, networks and experience. Challenges included too many taskmasters, unrealistic expectations and work overload. However, team-brokering provided a safe space to be vulnerable, share learning, and build confidence. As host organisations benefitted most from embedded brokers, both communities noted changes in attitude, knowledge, skills and confidence. The team were more successful in fostering ‘commissioning-informed research’ with co-produced research grants than ‘research-informed commissioning’.
Although still difficult, the collective support and comradery of an embedded, two-way, multi-professional team made encouraging interactions, and therefore brokering, easier. A team approach modelled collaborative behaviour and created a critical mass to affect cultural change.
Key messages
An embedded two-way collective team makes brokering easier.
It provides a safe space for brokers to be vulnerable, share learning and navigate problems.
Team-brokering models collaborative behaviour and creates a critical mass.
But many brokering challenges still exist.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalEvidence and Policy
Early online date25 Jan 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jan 2019


  • co-production
  • collective brokering
  • knowledge brokering
  • knowledge mobilisation


Dive into the research topics of 'Collective knowledge brokering: the model and impact of an embedded team'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this