The Sustainability and Spread of Organizational Change : Modernizing Healthcare book cover
1st Edition

The Sustainability and Spread of Organizational Change
Modernizing Healthcare

ISBN 9780415370950
Published December 19, 2006 by Routledge
336 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This important book examines issues affecting the sustainability and spread of new working practices. The question of why good ideas do not spread, ‘the best practices puzzle’, has been widely recognized. But the ‘improvement evaporation effect’, where successful changes are discontinued, has attracted less attention. Keeping things the way they are has been seen as an organizational problem to be resolved, not a condition to be achieved. This is one of the first major studies of the sustainability of change focusing on the example of the NHS, by a unique team of health service and academic researchers. The findings may apply to a variety of other settings.

The agenda set out in 2000 in The NHS Plan is perhaps the largest organization development programme ever undertaken, in any sector, anywhere. The NHS thus offers a valuable ‘living laboratory’ for the study of change. This text shows that sustainability and spread are influenced by a range of issues - contextual, managerial, political, individual, and temporal. Developing a processual perspective, this fresh analysis considers policy implications, and strategies for managing sustainability and spread. This book will be essential reading for students, managers, and researchers concerned with the effective implementation of organizational change.

Table of Contents

 Part 1: Context  1. Changing by Numbers  2. Improvement Evaporation: Why Do Successful Changes Decay?  3. The Best Practices Puzzle: Why are New Methods Contained and not Spread?  Part 2: Experience  4. View from the Top: Opening the Box on Spread and Sustainability  5. Shades of Resistance: Understanding and Addressing Scepticism  6. Tracking Sustainability: Lessons from the Patient Booking Timeline  7. Spreading and Sustaining Change: The Patient Booking Case Experience  8. Layers of Leadership: Hidden Influencers of Healthcare Improvement  9. Spreading and Sustaining Change: The Cancer Collaborative Case Experience  10. High Impact: Key Changes in Cancer Care  11. Spreading can be Easy: The ‘See and Treat’ Experiment  Part 3: Implications  12. The Sustainability and Spread Story: Contributions to Theory  13. Sustaining Change and Avoiding Containment: Practice and Policy  14. Researching Major Change: Issues and Dilemmas


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'This book is a must for those planning and implementing change. Its key message is that sustainability and spread are intimately linked and it helpfully outlines the complex mediators of such challenging social processes. For those researching health care settings, the book offers significant insights into relevant theory and signposts valuable scholarship in this area.'

Sue Dopson, Rhodes Trust University Reader in Organisational Behaviour, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

'The NHS Modernisation Agency supported a wide-ranging attempt to reform a major public service. Drawing on case studies from five years of that experience, this volume brings a rare combination of intellectual rigour and practical insight to two of the central challenges that confront such programmes of change. It will prove a valuable resource to managers, practitioners, students and researchers in healthcare and beyond.'

Edward Peck, Professor of Public Services Development and Director, Health Services Management Centre and School of Public Policy, University of Birmingham