The study illustrates that several major changes in patient care policy occurred based on the Positive Deviance initiative.
Yet, the study also illustrates the requisite role of top management in an often bottom-up organization. In order for the change effort to be successful, top management must sincerely endorse and support the effort with resources, emotion, and interest; and must recognize and reward those associated with the effort.
Further, powerful groups such as doctors must learn to understand that patient care comes first, and that the lowest-level employee is doing his/her job by reminding a busy, distracted doctor to follow practices that reduce infection transmission.
One nurse's aide described how she realized that deep change had occurred when she overcame her fears and corrected a doctor politely in front of several patients, as the correction needed to occur at that moment, and the doctor sincerely thanked her for the reminder. So some aspects of traditional hierarchical and positional power remain, but they must evolve to become more egalitarian in order for all employees to have voice and contribute toward improving the organization's performance.
The application of complexity theory to leadership is one of Schneider's research interests. "I am thrilled," she said, "that this work is helping to illustrate the human side of complexity-informed change in organizations, and does so within a healthcare setting."
|Contact: Sheryl Weinstein|
New Jersey Institute of Technology