Translational Mobilisation Theory

Translational Mobilisation Theory is a sociological theory, which provides a framework for understanding and investigating the emergent organisation of collaborative work practices in institutional contexts.  This site has been developed to support the application and further development of Translational Mobilisation Theory.



Across a multitude of institutional contexts people need to work together to achieve important goals. The organisation of this cooperative activity is often complex and contingent. Understanding these processes is both an academic and practical concern.

Translational Mobilisation Theory is a sociological theory, which was developed to support the analysis of these complex organisational processes.  


“Understanding complex organisational processes in all their ecological richness is challenging. Translational Mobilisation Theory was developed to facilitate this endeavour, and to support learning across institutional contexts. ”

Professor Davina Allen 


Using this resource

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#1 Introduction

Translational Mobilisation Theory is based on ethnographic research on the ‘organising work’ of hospital nurses (Allen, 2015b). ‘Translational mobilisation’ is the term coined to refer to the mechanisms and resources through which nurses coordinate and manage patient care as this evolves.

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#2 Development

The theory also draws on insights from Normalisation Process Theory (NPT). NPT identifies, characterises, and explains the mechanisms that motivate and shape the ways that situated interventions are implemented, embedded, and integrated in practice settings (May and Finch, 2009; May, 2013).

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#3 Core Components

Translational Mobilisation Theory is comprised of 3 core concepts and underpinned by 4 domain assumptions.  These are summarised in the precepts of the theory. 

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#4 Using the thEory

Translational Mobilisation Theory can be used for research and for improving organisational processes.