Engaging professionals in sustainable workplace innovation: medical doctors and institutional work

Timothy Bartram, Pauline Stanton, Greg J. Bamber, Sandra G. Leggat, Ruth Ballardie, Richard Gough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates the role of medical professionals in the success and longevity of the implementation of workplace innovation and organizational change in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Departments of two large public hospitals, in Australia and Canada, during the introduction of process improvement using Lean Management (LM) methodologies. We ask why and how doctors resist, influence or enable LM initiatives in healthcare. Using a qualitative methodology, we contribute to institutional work theory by unpacking the complex forms of boundary and practice work undertaken by key actors who effectively use their professional status and power to enable practice changes to be embedded. Our findings lend support to the importance of the involvement and ownership of senior doctors in the design, introduction and implementation of successful workplace innovation and organizational change. Senior doctors use their professional expertise, positional and political power at the industry, organization and workplace levels to influence strategically the use of resources designated for workplace innovation to improve efficiencies, quality of patient care and maintain their dominance. The significant organizational change achieved reflected the ownership and leadership of the workplace innovation by senior doctors in ‘hybrid roles’ who captured the rhetoric and minimized adversarialism among key stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-55
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Healthcare
  • innovation
  • institutional theory
  • managers
  • organisational change
  • professionals
  • doctors
  • hybrid roles’
  • Accident and Emergency
  • hospitals
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • process improvement
  • Lean production
  • Lean
  • Lean Management
  • institutional work
  • Workplace change
  • quality of patient care
  • leadership

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