Quality improvement must start from below

JIBS researchers Annika Nordin and Thomas Müllern have examined how three teams at the Jönköping County Hospital Ryhov are working with quality improvement.

”I was surprised to see such large differences between different teams at the same workplace. They all have the same starting conditions for their work,” says Thomas Müller to Swedish journal Dagens Medicin in an article about the research project.

Three multidisciplinary teams in the child and adolescent clinic at Ryhov were interviewed about their improvement and quality work. The basis for the study was to examine how a group of employees can acquire so-called ”empowerment” – being able to handle problems and challenges within the team, instead of always having to turn to an operations manager.

”The operations manager must create a system where employees do not need to ask about every little thing. And be prepared to relinquish power,” says Thomas Müllern.

One of the conclusions of the study is that the commitment to change must come ”from the floor”. Important factors are that employees have respect for each other without regard to the old hierarchies; are able to work well together and have a clear target.

Thomas Müllern is Professor of Business Administration and Annika Nordin is a doctoral student at JIBS department of Marketing & Logistics. Both are active in the project ”Bridging the Gaps”, a collaboration of researchers from different fields together with the Jönköping County Council, aiming to bridge the gap between research and practice in health care.