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Implementing lean management/Six Sigma in hospitals: beyond empowerment or work intensification?

Implementing lean management/Six Sigma in hospitals: beyond empowerment or work intensification?

Stanton, Pauline, Gough, Richard, Ballardie, Ruth, Bartram, Timothy, Bamber, Greg J. and Sohal, Amrik (2014) Implementing lean management/Six Sigma in hospitals: beyond empowerment or work intensification? The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25 (21). pp. 2926-2940. ISSN 0958-5192 (Print), 1466-4399 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2014.963138)

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Abstract

This article analyses a process improvement project based on Lean Six Sigma (LSS) techniques in the emergency department (ED) of a large Australian hospital. We consider perspectives of the clinical and managerial staff involved in the project implementation, its implications for empowerment and work intensification. We find that the project appeared to improve patient flow from the ED to the wards and to have positive implications for some staff. However, these achievements tended to be the result of senior staff using the project to leverage resources and create desirable outcomes, rather than the result of the use of LSS, in particular. We found some evidence of work intensification, but this was attributable to wider systemic issues and budget constraints, rather than being a direct consequence of the use of LSS. We argue that translating LSS from a manufacturing context into the politicised and professionalised context of healthcare changes the usual questions about empowerment or work intensification to questions about the influences of powerful stakeholders.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: empowerment; hospitals; Lean Six Sigma; process improvement; work intensification
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of Human Resources & Organisational Behaviour
Faculty of Business > Centre for Work and Employment Research (CREW) > Work & Employment Research Unit (WERU)
Last Modified: 17 May 2019 17:34
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: GREAT a
Selected for GREAT 2019: GREAT 1
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/19752

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