The experience of workplace conflict on knowledge sharing in occupational therapy student communities of practice
Wells, William David
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The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand how occupational therapy students engaged in communities of practice experienced learning and knowledge sharing during times of conflict in their Level 2 fieldwork experiences. This understanding was obtained through interviews of five participants regarding their stories of conflict and knowledge sharing during their Level 2 fieldwork experience. The findings of this study provide a better understanding of how knowledge sharing is affected by conflict in occupational therapy student community of practice settings. Four primary themes emerged from the data: (a) interpersonal conflict in community of practice settings has many manifestations, causes and is unavoidable, (b) conflict’s immediate effects on knowledge sharing in community of practice settings is negatively perceived, (c) post-conflict reflection on the experience ultimately reveals positive knowledge sharing outcomes, and (d) participants felt ill-prepared to handle conflict and manage its effects on knowledge sharing. The emergent themes reveal how conflict is perceived, valued, and handled by occupational therapy students in Level 2 fieldwork. The research presents conflict as an unavoidable aspect of occupational therapy communities of practice. Knowledge sharing in occupational therapy communities of practice has both negative and positive outcomes when affected by conflict. Reflection by the occupational therapy student on conflict experiences is important in evaluating its effects on knowledge sharing. The study also uncovered occupational therapy students’ feeling of lack of preparation in handling conflict in Level 2 fieldwork settings.