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Practising Peer Review in Organizations: a Qualifier for Knowledge Dissemination and Legitimization

Journal article
Authors Magnus Bergquist
Jan Ljungberg
Ulrika Snis-Lundh
Published in Journal of Information Technology
Volume 16
Pages 99-112
Publication year 2001
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Pages 99-112
Language en
Keywords Knowledge Management, Peer Review, Knowledge Creation, Pharmaceuptical Industry
Subject categories Economics and Business


A key issue in many organizations is how to disseminate information in an effective way and, more importantly, how to make use of this information in order to create new knowledge. One way of addressing this problem is to focus on how information is socially transformed into knowledge. This includes how knowledge is handled in practice and how the knowledge produced is qualiŽ ed as being something worth knowing and acting upon. Two well-established practices for doing this are the refereeing system and the peer review process. These are used in scientiŽ c communities as a means of validating and legitimating knowledge, for example by reviewing journal papers before publishing or project proposals before granting funds, etc. This paper argues that peer review is a useful concept when looking at knowledge creation and legitimization in organizations. The social meaning of peer review is to legitimize new knowledge by organizationally sanctioning it and thereby creating a platform for collective sense making. This paper uses an example from a Ž eld study in a pharmaceutical company in order to illustrate this argument. The study took place in a quality support department where the quality of health care products and processes was assessed. The organization had a need for fast and reliable updating of information that could in uence how the production process of pharmaceuticals should be carried out. In order to cope with these problems the department established an ‘evaluation loop’, which shared several characteristics with the peer review process.

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