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Continuous improvement and dynamic actor associations A study of lean thinking implementation in the UK National Health Service

Continuous improvement and dynamic actor associations A study of lean thinking implementation in... Purpose – The purpose of this study is to explore the link between continuous improvement (CI) and dynamic actor associations through a case of lean thinking implementation in healthcare. Design/methodology/approach – The paper follows the qualitative case study strategy. Data were collected by interviewing (tape‐recording) managers and staff, analysing relevant written project material, and conducting non‐participant observations. Findings – The findings suggest that the implementation of CI depends on the emergence of a “favouring” network from the dynamic associations between heterogeneous entities. This network aims at facilitating change leadership, establishing behaviour/culture prone to CI, and constructing a behaviour non‐resistant to CI needed for creating competencies for the continuous roll‐outs of such changes. Continuous translation is the underlying mechanism for establishing the favouring network. Originality/value – The paper addresses the literature gap regarding the role of dynamic actor associations in shaping CI in a public sector context. It does not aim at generalising the results of the case study; it informs current theory by revealing that the success of CI deployment depends on the emergence of a CI‐favouring network, which will continuously transform opposing views into accepting CI. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Leadership in Health Services Emerald Publishing

Continuous improvement and dynamic actor associations A study of lean thinking implementation in the UK National Health Service

Leadership in Health Services , Volume 24 (3): 21 – Jul 19, 2011

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1751-1879
DOI
10.1108/17511871111151117
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this study is to explore the link between continuous improvement (CI) and dynamic actor associations through a case of lean thinking implementation in healthcare. Design/methodology/approach – The paper follows the qualitative case study strategy. Data were collected by interviewing (tape‐recording) managers and staff, analysing relevant written project material, and conducting non‐participant observations. Findings – The findings suggest that the implementation of CI depends on the emergence of a “favouring” network from the dynamic associations between heterogeneous entities. This network aims at facilitating change leadership, establishing behaviour/culture prone to CI, and constructing a behaviour non‐resistant to CI needed for creating competencies for the continuous roll‐outs of such changes. Continuous translation is the underlying mechanism for establishing the favouring network. Originality/value – The paper addresses the literature gap regarding the role of dynamic actor associations in shaping CI in a public sector context. It does not aim at generalising the results of the case study; it informs current theory by revealing that the success of CI deployment depends on the emergence of a CI‐favouring network, which will continuously transform opposing views into accepting CI.

Journal

Leadership in Health ServicesEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 19, 2011

Keywords: Continuous improvement; Lean thinking; Continuous translation; Leadership; Dynamic associations; Actor‐Network Theory

References