Business and Management INK

Service Improvement and Context

December 13, 2010 782

Making Service Improvement Happen: The Importance of Social Context “by Aoife M. McDermott, Cardiff University, Wales, United Kingdom and Mary A. Keating, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland, has just been published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science OnlineFirst.

Today, Professors McDermott and Keating discuss their article:

Who is the target audience for this article?

We hope to have a wide audience. The paper may be of interest to academics, while the implications may be of interest to policy-makers and practitioners.

What Inspired You To Be Interested In This Topic?

The Irish hospital sector is complex, comprised of public, private and non-profit organisations. It has recently come through major structural reform, which led to significant policy debate the benefits and downsides of each of these sectors. This sparked our interested in the impact of these different sectoral contexts on change processes and outcomes.

Were There Findings That Were Surprising To You?

The paper is built around a surprising finding – that the organisations with the seemingly most positive environments for change don’t always achieve positive outcomes. We explained this by looking at the role of social context.

How Do You See This Study Influencing Future Research And/Or Practice?

For researchers, we hope this paper illustrates the value of research that explicitly takes account of context – and that looks at the relative influence of different contextual dimensions. We also hope that it will help promote the value of qualitative methodologies in disentangling the individual and configurational influence of dimensions of context.

For managers, the paper draws attention to fact that people can achieve positive service-improvement outcomes, in spite of difficult organizational contexts. To achieve this, the paper identifies the importance of management support and reporting relationships, and draws attention to the benefits of autonomy and flexibility in job design.

For policy-makers, the study suggests a need for further reflection on, and evaluation of, structural reform to achieve change. Our findings suggest that policy makers should, in the first instance, consider how they might positively influence the social context of organizations. Indeed, given the agitating nature of structural change it may serve to further undermine the social context.

How Does This Study Fit Into Your Body Of Work/Line Of Research?

This paper is based on my PhD thesis and, as such, I hope it is the first of a line of significant and high-impact studies! We are fundamentally interested in people-management to achieve service-delivery and change, and enjoy the complexity of the health service context. Building on findings from this study, we, together with Louise Fitzgerald, are now studying the role of the HR function and clinical directorate structures in supporting service-improvement in hospitals.

How Did Your Paper Change During The Review Process?

We received very constructive feedback from the reviewers and editors. This encouraged us to make our contribution more explicit and to significantly develop the implications for research and practice. At the suggestion of one of the reviewers, we also added in a figure which serves to pull the paper together conceptually. We wish we’d initially thought to do this ourselves, but it highlighted the fact that a picture can speak a thousand words.

What, If Anything, Would You Do Differently If You Could Go Back And Do This Study Again?

Given more time and resources, it would have been interesting to also examine strategic changes, to see if the findings also hold up across second order change.

Bookmark and Share

Business and Management INK puts the spotlight on research published in our more than 100 management and business journals. We feature an inside view of the research that’s being published in top-tier SAGE journals by the authors themselves.

View all posts by Business & Management INK

Related Articles

Sometimes, We Do Need a Narcissist
Business and Management INK
May 21, 2024

Sometimes, We Do Need a Narcissist

Read Now
From Collision to Collaboration: Bridging University and Industry Relationships
Business and Management INK
May 17, 2024

From Collision to Collaboration: Bridging University and Industry Relationships

Read Now
Motivation of Young Project Professionals: Their Needs for Autonomy, Competence, Relatedness, and Purpose
Business and Management INK
May 14, 2024

Motivation of Young Project Professionals: Their Needs for Autonomy, Competence, Relatedness, and Purpose

Read Now
A Complexity Framework for Project Management Strategies
Business and Management INK
May 10, 2024

A Complexity Framework for Project Management Strategies

Read Now
Bringing Theories into Conversation to Strategize for a Better World

Bringing Theories into Conversation to Strategize for a Better World

In this article, Ann Langley, Rikkie Albertsen, Shahzad (Shaz) Ansari, Katrin Heucher, Marc Krautzberger, Pauline Reinecke, Natalie Slawinski, and Eero Vaara reflect on the inspiration behind their research article, “Strategizing Together for a Better World: Institutional, Paradox and Practice Theories in Conversation,” found in the Journal of Management Inquiry.

Read Now
Exploring Discrimination Faced by Asian Nationals in the U.S. Labor Market

Exploring Discrimination Faced by Asian Nationals in the U.S. Labor Market

Amit Kramer, Kwon Hee Han, Yun Kyoung Kim, and Yun Kyoung Kim reflect on the hypotheses and observations that led to their article, “Inefficiencies and bias in first job placement: the case of professional Asian nationals in the United States.”

Read Now
Interorganizational Design for Collaborative Governance in Co-Owned Major Projects: An Engaged Scholarship Approach

Interorganizational Design for Collaborative Governance in Co-Owned Major Projects: An Engaged Scholarship Approach

Large projects co-owned by several organizations with separate, perhaps competing, interests and values are characterized by complexity and are not served well […]

Read Now
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments