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Healthcare quality improvement work: a professional employee perspective

Christian Gadolin (University of Skövde, Skövde, Sweden)
Thomas Andersson (University of Skövde, Skövde, Sweden)

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Article publication date: 12 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyze conditions that influence how employees engage in healthcare quality improvement (QI) work.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative case study based on interviews (n=27) and observations (n=10).

Findings

The main conditions that influence how employees engage in healthcare QI work are professions, work structures and working relationships. These conditions can both prevent and facilitate healthcare QI. Professions and work structures may cement existing institutional logics and thus prevent employees from engaging in healthcare QI work. However, attempts to align QI with professional logics, together with work structures that empower employees, can make these conditions increase employee engagement, which can be accomplished through positive working relationships that foster institutional work, which bridge different competing institutional logics, making it possible to overcome barriers that professions and work structures may constitute.

Practical implications

Understanding the conditions that influence how employees engage in healthcare QI work will make initiatives more likely to succeed.

Originality/value

Healthcare QI has mainly been studied from an implementer perspective, and employees have either been neglected or seen as passive resisters. Weak employee perspectives make healthcare QI research incomplete. In our research, healthcare QI work is studied closely at the actor level to understand healthcare QI from an employee perspective.

Keywords

Citation

Gadolin, C. and Andersson, T. (2017), "Healthcare quality improvement work: a professional employee perspective", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 30 No. 5, pp. 410-423. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJHCQA-02-2016-0013

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited