When Trustworthiness Matters: How Trust Influences Knowledge-Production and Knowledge-Sharing in a Surgical Department


  • Gro Underland Vestfold University College




Knowledge-production, knowledge-sharing, hospital, surgeons, clinical meetings, trust


Transferring clinical knowledge and bringing various representations of clinical knowledge together is crucial as support for clinical decision-making. While previous scholarship has elaborated patients’ trust of healthcare providers as well as the healthcare system, this article emphasizes trust as a catalyst for clinical knowledge production. Using an observational study of a surgical department at a large Norwegian hospital, the article focuses on knowledge transfer between surgeons in a surgical department. The surgeons’ confidence to initiate knowledge requests and the perceived trustworthiness of knowledge by colleagues is significant. There is a distinct underuse of medical patient records, both paper-based and electronic, which results in an oral transferring and sharing of clinical knowledge. Significantly this oral knowledge-transfer is dynamic and effective, meeting demands for timely patient information. By studying knowledge-intensive work very closely from a perspective that suggests that knowledge is local and developed through trust and dependence, this study identifies how work practices have developed to work well with little support of formal information systems.

Author Biography

Gro Underland, Vestfold University College

Gro Underland is a medical sociologist and an associate professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Vestfold University College. Her current research interest is organisational changes when implementing new information systems. Knowledge-production and –transference at hospitals is an important part of this research. It also includes health personnel’s resistance towards new information technology in work practices and the role of the patient within new technology. Faculty of Health Sciences Vestfold University College, Post Box 2243 3103 Tønsberg, Norway



How to Cite

Underland, G. (2011). When Trustworthiness Matters: How Trust Influences Knowledge-Production and Knowledge-Sharing in a Surgical Department. Communication and Medicine, 7(2), 187–196. https://doi.org/10.1558/cam.v7i2.187