The mediation of policy knowledge: An interpretive analysis of intersecting activity systems

Heather E. Canary, Robert D. McPhee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


We use structurating activity theory,an integration of structuration and cultural-historical activity theories, to examine how individuals construct policy knowledge. The study was conducted over 5 months with participants from related activity systems who interacted regarding special education policy. Qualitative analysis focused on how participants drew on system-specific and structural rules and resources to construct policy knowledge within and between activity systems. Results reveal how participants developed policy knowledge that was mediated by system elements of divisions of labor, communities, rules, subjects, and both material and symbolic mediating resources.The mediated knowledge construction process also reproduced broad structural features. Results interpreted through structurating activity theory extend current understandings of policy and knowledge processes and offer directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-187
Number of pages41
JournalManagement Communication Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009



  • Activity systems
  • Knowledge
  • Policy
  • Structuration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Communication

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