Implementing culture change in health care: theory and practice

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First Review

The following is an article review by Scott et al., Implementing culture change in health care: theory and practice.”[1]


The article was based on a review on which focused on discussions concerning “organizational culture and culture change within health care organizations in the UK.”


The methods used for this article consisted of a literature review that consisted of “theoretical contributions” and results from published studies. In addition, feedback from 30 healthcare experts in the UK and USA were included.


The definition of organizational culture was varied within the scholar community. The development of “culture change models” were confirmed. A list of key factors that impact culture change were identified:

  • Inadequate or inappropriate leadership;
  • Constraints imposed by external stakeholders and professional allegiances;
  • Perceived lack of ownership;
  • Subcultural diversity within health care organizations and systems.

Conclusion / Summary of Key Points

Organizational culture changes need to be taken into account when restructuring health care. It is important to understand theory during this process. In summary, the following points were concluded:

  • Organizational culture is complex,
  • Importance of distinguishing between different types of subcultures,
  • Crucial role of leadership,
  • Common barriers to culture change.

In addition, it was noted that planning for culture change may not yield expected results.


The article emphasized the difficulty of planning for organizational change and the challenges presented when changing culture. This also applies to current projects underway within the healthcare industry. More teams are realizing that even though projects involve technical aspects, a big portion of the projects deal with the implementation of organizational/culture change.

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Second Review

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  1. Scott, T, Mannion, R, Davies, H, Marshall, M.(2003). Implementing culture change in health care: theory and practice. International Journal for Quality in Health Care 15, no. 2.>